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07 Modes to Keep in Mind for Effective Speech and Debate Activity

Updated on April 18, 2020
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As an English teacher, counselor, and CCA in charge, I felt honored to help build the students' skills in delivering speech and debate.


Speech and debate are of utmost importance for children’s development. Students from an early age are ground through it. These activities are part of every school's academic calendar.

They are two separate activities but practiced as one. It is an event derived for middle and high school children.

Participants present a speech as persuasive information and speak both for and against the topic. They can highlight the pros and cons of both sides.

Elocution, declamation and extempore are some important speeches. The presentation method for all three is important. The speech is judged on the mode in which students present it.

A debate is a structured contest about a given issue. It involves two teams comprising two or three members each who argue current issues skillfully with knowledge and clarity.

One team speaks in favor of the motion while the other argues against it. Interpretations and arguments with quick repertoire are assets in this form of speech.

Strong Opening Lines of Action

The debate starts with a note of greeting and then progresses as:

  • good morning…good afternoon
  • honorable chairperson sir/madam
  • members of the adjudicators, principal sir/madam
  • members of the opposing team and audience
  • would you all please 'lend me your ears'

Then the debate sets off with the best speaker in the team. He or she should start the motion with a bold rhetoric question. That sets the ball rolling.

A relevant narration of some current, hot issue will catch the audiences’ attention. Once they are attentively glued towards the stage you have made your mark.

After one has grabbed and attracted everyone's attention one should highlight the key terms and summarize the points while arguing the other teams' credibility.

Reliable Quote

"If you can't explain it simply,

you don't understand it well enough."

Albert Einstein

Keep Counter-Intuitive Measures In Mind

Each member of the team has usually seven minutes for the argument. You start with a proposition and then continue with opposing the other team.

You should have an intuition about what arguments the other will put forth. Then you can charge your opposer with inadequate and shallow knowledge.

You should be able to premeditate the other person's thoughts and points of arguments to pinpoint precision.

You should keep your opposing team and the audience on their toes with your clear and witty speech and absolute knowledge.

Taking permission

We can hold no debates without the permission of the principal. It is also a part of the school club activity.

The Arguments Should have Utter Conviction

The arguments presented should be utterly convincing. There should not be any kind of confusion or doubt.

The slightest wave of doubt will have the opposing team at your throat. And once you are cornered you are virtually a dying duck.

Every point of an argument should be noted and its opposition premeditated. You should be thoroughly prepared for all eventualities.

Answer quickly within the stipulated time of three minutes else it passes on

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Keep Check on Opposing Speakers

Excellent debaters work as a team and chalk out their strategies properly. They should have several team meetings.

Every point of discussion should be clarified and worked out to the hilt.

Similarly, arguments by the opposing speakers should be worked out beforehand. All the opponents' details should be derived to the minutest detail.

The quality and firing power of all the opponents should be at your fingertips.

Wrong information and slackness will send you to kite flying or on a wild goose chase. In cricketing terms you will be sent on a wild leather hunt.

A debate can and should be termed as war, so watch out and be extremely cautious.

Build A Rapport with Your Audience

A good debater must link with his audience and build a good rapport. The audience comes to see a vibrant and fiery discussion from participants.

They know the issue being highlighted. So the debater must be able to give the listeners what they expect. If the participant cannot deliver their expectation they would turn deaf ears to them.

The students who can ably share a rapport with audiences must have the following qualities:

  • they should be able to analyze listeners' feelings on the issue being discussed.
  • they should be critical thinkers.
  • they should have the tact to choose words wisely.
  • to choose the right words, phrases, and proverbs one must have an excellent vocabulary.
  • one should have well thought out arguments in his favor.
  • one should be extremely skilled to question pieces of evidence being put forth.
  • they should vehemently prove their own points and pieces of evidence.
  • the orator must be a skilled actor on the stage.

It is a well-known reality that the best performer wins the day for his team.

Valuable Quote

"Debate is life,

the rest is just prep-time."

Stories Make Your Issues Memorable

In speech delivery, debate, or all forms of writing and speaking the role of stories are immensely important.

Any speaker or debater must be able to touch the listener's heart and mind with an excellent story. The stage can be school, college or election meets.

The story must make the audience feel that it is their story being narrated.

Once that chord is touched upon the major work is done. In simple words half the war is won.

Emotions And Not Information Should Be The Moto

Debtors or orators are supposed to give information about the issue of argument.

But that should be the secondary focus of speakers. If they want to romp home in a blaze of glory they require another quality.

The facts and shreds of evidence being presented must be emotionally charged.

If the orator delivers information in an emotionally charged platter to his audience he grabs their focus of attention.

Emotions can be garnered if the debater narrates anecdotes from his armory. It could be cooked up on the spot. But it should hit the bullseye.

An excellent speaker is one who has roving-eye on the faces of his listeners.

Then one can visualize the impact his/her words are creating on the spectators. This is an important knack all speakers should cultivate.


Speech and debate is a very Important faculty of expression. This must be an unexcusable part of the school curriculum.

It must be made compulsory for all students. This activity is a very fast path that leads to success in life and even celebrity status.

The following points should be always kept in mind:

  • it is a combination of the different skills of public speaking, acting, and arguing.
  • students learn to work as a team.
  • they learn the importance of teamwork for achieving success.
  • they must prove their point of argument against the opposition.
  • It can be held at class level, inter-house level, inter-school level especially
  • different types of debate competitions are held in different countries.

One must have a thorough knowledge of all the types.

Speech and debates change the lives of students. They achieve self-confidence and trust in their capabilities. It is a feather in their caps when they become youths.

Answer the questions promptly in the stipulated time.

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Bharat Sharan


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