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Keys to Successful Debate

Provide relevant points that connect to the topic. Do research ahead of time. Ask your peers, visit a student organization meeting, or schedule a meeting with administration/faculty/staff. Know your facts before the meeting. 

Provide proofs and credible data instead of just solely your own opinion. Your opinion is great and your experiences matter. Help bolster your claims by inserting data. 

Take the audience into account. Remember who is in the room. As a senator you can yield your time to audience members if you see fit. Audience members may be directly impact on what we are debating. 

Use comparisons and claims to explain why your arguments are important. Illustrate your point. Not everyone in the room will be an expert on topics. Help others follow your argument by drawing comparisons everyone will be able to follow. 

Remain flexible. The chair will do their best to recognize your hand out. To make sure you are being seen, put your hand out and make direct eye contact. If you do not catch their attention, wave your hand a little and make sure you are seen. 

Be confident. Know the topic before you come to the meeting. Keep eye contact with your fellow senators when making your argument. Try to avoid word fillers

Think about your language. Keep your language simple. Refer to senators as “Senator ___” and treat each other as professionals. Avoid exaggeration and absolutes like “always” and “never.” Never say that others are wrong.

Avoid the following behaviors:

  • Making up or falsifying evidence
  • Attacking the speaker, not the idea
  • Being aggressive or offensive
  • Interrupting senators