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How To Prepare For A College Debate

Before we go on, let us try to define what a debate is? As for its definition, a debate is a formal discussion of a particular topic conducted in a public meeting in which opposing arguments are laid out. Now you may not have realized it, but you usually do this every day, either when discussing with your friends, parents, or even your partner. 

Being able to debate is a good skill that can give you a lot of benefits. It allows you to have good grades in school and open up opportunities after graduation. If you are already good at debating; congratulations! But if you are trying to improve this skill, then here are some tips on how you can prepare for a debate and become good at it.

First, you need to understand the structure of a debate. You will be given a subject where you must choose whether you will be negative or affirmative. Then, you will be given time to prepare and speak your sentiments about the topic. Each speaker would then take turns, and finally, you will be judged based on who made the most convincing argument.

Establish Confidence

When participating in a debate, you need to convince the judges that your argument is the strongest, and to do this, you must be confident in what you are saying. The more confident you are, the more likely they would believe and steer the favor towards you.

Conduct Your Research

Yes, confidence is the key to winning a debate, but it can only bring you so far since a large part of the debate still relies on the power of your argument. 

To create a significant impact, you need to perform in-depth research about your topic. It would allow you to prepare for whatever rebuttal the opposing team throws at you.

Prepare Your Arguments

Once you conduct enough research, now it’s time to create your argument. These arguments are points that allow you to defend your position about the topic. 

Try to write down all the arguments that you can think about. If you are working as a group, then brainstorm with your teammates. Chances are you will not use all of these arguments, but you would still benefit from it as you’ll never know when you might need it during the debate.

Evaluate Your List

As mentioned, winning a debate lies in the content and how strong your arguments are. That is why it is important to choose only the important ones. 

Look for those that are supported by facts, as these are the ones that are the most effective. Arguments that appeal to emotions should not be used frequently.

Prepare For Your Counterargument

Listing down all your arguments will allow you to anticipate the questions that the other side might ask you. 

Always assume that they are knowledgeable and as prepared as you are. Keep in mind that what you need to do is attack their argument and discredit them. But make sure that your counterarguments are also logical and should be supported by facts and evidence.

Prepare Your Cue Card

If you are someone who has a photographic memory, then this should be easy for you. But for most, remembering all your arguments, counterarguments, and rebuttals can be overwhelming. It is why you must create a cue card. 

Keep it organized according to how you will deliver everything. These cue cards would serve as your guide so as not to let you stray away from the topic. Make sure that your cue card is readable to keep your speech flowing smoothly.

Practice Makes Perfect

Before the debate, it is better if you practice delivering your speech or have someone debate with you. Time yourself as usually it is a timed event, and you are only given a few minutes to raise your argument. 

The more you practice, the more comfortable you become, which is also one way of improving confidence. Practicing using a mirror is also good as you can see how you would look when speaking. You need to look calm and composed and take note of your body language.

There you have it – the tips on how you can prepare for a college debate. Remember that everything can be done if you focus and prepare in advance. Keep your emotions at bay, and just let the facts do the talking.

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