There is a huge difference between arguing and debating, and it’s a difficult line to navigate for some people. Debating is more of an art form, something that you can utilize in your future career and relationships. To really up your debating game, you could join the debating team at college and seriously hone your skills. Here are some top tips for helping you win every debate, whether it is a political discussion over dinner or a competitive debate on a stage.
It’s all about the judge
Sometimes you will have to debate something that you don’t believe in. When it comes to competitive debating, the only person whose opinion matters is the judge. Look into the eyes of the judge and look for any signs that they agree or disagree with you. Speak directly to the judge and make sure you are using language and ideas that they can follow easily.
Think as if you were your opposition
A great way to make sure you are covering all basis when it comes to debating is to write down any arguments that your opponents may make. Then, prepare arguments that counter each of these points. This will really make sure that you have addressed anything that they might throw at your, and show the judge that you have looked at the topic thoroughly.
Act like you’re winning
Of course, you don’t want to look too arrogant, but if you ooze confidence, this will help the judge believe in your argument. Remember, if you don’t look at though you believe in your own argument, then they won’t be able to believe in you either. Be composed and poised and try to hide those nerves as much as possible!
It’s difficult to argue with statistics and evidence. Where possible, refer to evidence that backs up your claims, as this will give far more weight behind your points. Of course, when it comes to debating, a lot of it is based on your own arguments, showing that there are other, credible people who agree with you, or that there are facts and figures that substantiate your claim will make it much harder for your opponents to disagree. It is very important that you cite your references and be sure that they come from credible sources.
Stop and think
When it is time for the judge’s questions, this is when many people can be wrong-footed, or find themselves backing down or rambling. Before you start to answer, take a deep breath and take a second to focus your mind. Address each point and make sure that you don’t veer too far off of what you have been asked – it is all too easy to panic and start going off topic.
Know your topic inside out
If you are asked a question that you do not understand, or if your opponents discuss a part of the topic that you are unaware of, you are likely to start falling apart. Try to make sure you have thoroughly researched all angles of the topic – the more you know, the more confident you will feel.
Debating is a skill that some people may have naturally, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be learned or developed. Joining a debate team looks great on your resume and will also help you become a better debater in the workplace. Plus, it can be a lot of fun too!