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Debate: you win some, you lose some

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History has it, no leader in the world politics has reigned ever without defeating his rival in a war of words. Former president of the United States of America Barack Obama once said, “When students participate in debates, they learn to study issues in depth and form perspectives, a skill I use everyday.”

 

Let’s talk about some tips which will help you to not only speak your mind but also win the game :

 

  • Know your audience

Well, isn’t it true in all spheres? You play a hip hop song for a set of old men and women, no one is going to dance to the tune, let alone enjoy it. Same holds true for any argument. Until you know your listeners well, your debate won’t see a rising shine. Young Fellows, share examples from daily life; adults, show research; and by any means your audience is all about academicians, you go ahead and prove your mettle by displaying your analytical skills.

In short, give the audience what they are looking for.

 

  • Respect your rival

Respect and attention are two things you need to shower on your opponent. Please understand, he is just a player like you. None of your arguments should smell sarcasm or insult. It’s a gentleman’s game, so, attack their arguments, not them.

While doing so, don’t lose a word he says. An ideal speaker contests each point the rival raises in the field.

 

  • It’s a debate, not a war

Remember you are not there to win over your opponent. Your target is to win over the audience and once you do that with your humor and presence of mind, no one can steal the win away from you.

 

  • Polish your style

Run through your arguments before an audience hears them. Crisp, punchy, jargon-free sentences work better than lengthy technical passages. Aim for a relaxed, conversational speaking voice and a moderate pace in your delivery. Otherwise, you risk garbling or swallowing important words or phrases, and this can hurt your score. Maintain a firm posture and good eye contact, too, at all times.

 

  • Stay calm at all times

Be prepared that there will be times when the opponent might not follow the righteous behavior. He may try to hit you below the belt. Don’t get annoyed. Do not take the ridicule to heart and never call them names. Stay calm and composed, bring a smile on your face. Your job is to refute their arguments, do that! Stick to your argument with firmness, the audience will be compelled to listen to you.

 

  • Appreciating the right

Well, let’s not undermine the talent of the rival. He is up there for a reason and he must have prepared hard enough to beat you in the game. Whenever he is right, don’t forget to appreciate him. It won’t make you weak. It takes courage to call your arch rival, “You made a good point here.” And never forget, it’s chivalrous! It will help you garner bonus points among the audience.

 

  • Things you don’t know

You are human after all! Let’s leave “knowing everything” to god. If you don’t know something, avoid lying and simply say “I don’t Know”. It’s way better than entering into an unprepared war ground. It’s human and forgivable, therefore, stress on the subjects you are well-equipped with. It makes much more sense.

 

  • Bring Change

An hour of an argument won’t change anyone’s belief in the subject, but your words will have the power to influence the listeners to think about it deeply. Your words should plant some seeds of doubt and there my friend, your job is done.

 

EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter.

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