Cathy A.
Cathy A.

Best Debate Tips for Students

9 min read

Published on: Feb 6, 2019

Last updated on: Nov 16, 2023

debate tips

Are you a student who struggles with writing compelling debate arguments? Do you want to improve your skills in debate writing and arguments for class assignments?

Being a student often means having to write arguments for debates or assignments. You might have trouble organizing your thoughts, making your case, or presenting your ideas effectively. But don’t worry! 

In this blog, we'll provide students with the best debate tips and tricks.

Whether you're just starting or aiming to sharpen your writing skills, these tips will help you learn how to debate. Let's dive in and start improving your debating skills!

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Speech and Debate Tips

The following are some debate tips to win for high school, middle school, and college students. Keep in mind that each debate type, including an impromptu, congressional, public forum, British or Asian parliamentary, follows the same tips.

Tip # 1: Know the Debate Before it Starts

A writer should know and prepare well before starting any debate. Here, the main aim is to place yourself in the opponent’s shoes and research accordingly. Also, consider the following questions before you begin.

  • How am I going to win a debate?
  • How can my opponents win the debate?

These will help you develop a convincing argument to support your thesis statement.

Tip # 2: Conduct Open and Thorough Research

It is better to conduct open and thorough research to collect relevant data about the topic at hand. This technique will help to craft creative arguments and choose specific reasons from broad categories.

Expert Tip

For a fine selection of thought-provoking topics, have a look at our debate topics blog.

Tip # 3: Think Relatively

Each of your arguments will be compared with the views of the opponent’s debate teams. Thus, a writer should identify the validity of the main points. For this, you should weigh the relative importance of arguments through impact calculus. Also, maintain a good flow by keeping track of your major points in a debating competition.

You can also choose the most appropriate types of debate to present the claims.

Tip # 4: Understand the Debate through Experiences

Your primary focus is to understand the debate through a variety of experiences. Below are some advanced debating techniques to comprehend your content.

  • Try to develop a counterplan for a great learning experience.
  • Try to incorporate humor into your debate to make it more engaging.
  • Write different cases from scratch for each round.

Tip # 5: Relate the Content with Evidence

It is always beneficial to support your arguments with relevant examples and evidence. It will help to indicate the credibility of your information. Similarly, this strategy will also prove your argument more valid as compared to your opponents.

However, make sure that the facts and figures are derived from an authentic source.

Example: Support your claim that renewable energy is crucial by citing statistics on reduced carbon emissions and examples of countries successfully transitioning to sustainable practices.

Tip # 6: Consider the Perspective of Your Judge

Keep in mind that the opinion of the judge matters the most after the end of your debate. A common mistake that you can make is assuming that the audience understands the argument just because you do.

Thus, it is essential to consider the perspective of the judge while making a key point. In addition, good public speaking skills and eye contact will help reinforce your argument.

Example: Tailor your arguments to align with a conservative judge's values when discussing social issues, emphasizing economic benefits and individual freedoms to ensure a more persuasive case.

Tip # 7: Make your Case

Brainstorm reasons to support your position and think about what your debate is really about. Moreover, you should also create tag lines and titles for each point. Remember, every tag should be unique to contribute to the overall case.

Example: Clearly articulate your position on education reform by presenting well-organized evidence, such as improved student outcomes in countries that implemented similar changes.

 Tip # 8: Do Not Always Disagree with Everything

It is not necessary to always disagree with everything the other team says. Instead, take it as an affirmative team case vs. a negative team case. It will help you to avoid embarrassment and differences.

Also, take notes and think about the arguments logically. Examine where your argument clashes with the opponent’s case. Do not argue only for the sake of arguing, and try to be strategic.

Example: In a debate about immigration, acknowledge valid points from the opposing side, such as economic contributions, while still emphasizing the need for fair and humane policies.

You can also check out this debate tips pdf for better understanding:

Tip # 9: Rebuild Case after Refuting the Opponent’s Case

Build your case by keeping in mind the possible objections that opponents can raise. Furthermore, do not give away the refutations for your case. Instead, incorporate new analysis, evidence, and examples to rebuild your case. You should also use the formula for refutation, i.e. (they say, I say because).

Example: After dismantling your opponent's argument against environmental regulations, reconstruct your case by highlighting the success stories of regions that implemented such policies with positive results.

Tip # 10:Closing Remarks

The concluding section is your final appeal to the audience. Therefore, never introduce any new arguments in the closing remarks. Rather, give an analysis of the old ideas by considering the points of the clash.

You should also discuss the social, economic, and political sides of the argument. Lastly, examine both the argumentative and non-argumentative means to win a debate.

Example: For a more in-depth understanding of effective debating, consider exploring the comprehensive tips provided in the document "Tips for Debating." This resource offers valuable insights to further enhance your skills and approach in future debates.

For a more in-depth understanding of effective debate strategies and techniques,explore our pdf example.

Exclusive Debate Tips for Specific Types

Debates come in various formats, each requiring specific strategies for success. Whether engaging in a policy debate, a Lincoln-Douglas debate, or a congressional debate, tailoring your approach is crucial. 

Below are exclusive tips for different debate types to enhance your performance and persuasion.

Impromptu Debate Tips 

  • Think on Your Feet: Practice quick thinking and adaptability, as impromptu debates require spontaneous responses.
  • Effective Use of Examples: Support your points with relevant and concise examples to enhance the persuasiveness of your argument.
  • Master the Art of Summation: Conclude with a strong summary that reinforces your main points and leaves a lasting impression.

Public Forum Debate Tips 

  • Collaborative Approach: Work closely with your partner, emphasizing teamwork to present a united front against your opponents.
  • Stay Updated on Current Events: Public forum debates often involve contemporary issues, so staying informed is crucial for a well-rounded argument.
  • Impactful Closing Statements: Craft compelling closing statements that leave a lasting impression on judges and the audience.

Lincoln Douglas Debate Tips 

  • Value-Centered Arguments: Focus on ethical and moral values to build a principled and compelling case.
  • Clash of Values: Highlight the clash of values between your position and your opponent's, emphasizing the significance of your perspective.
  • Confident Cross-Examination: Master the art of cross-examination, using strategic questioning to expose weaknesses in your opponent's case.

Congressional Debate Tips 

  • Research Legislative Procedures: Understand the rules and procedures of legislative bodies to navigate the debate effectively.
  • Effective Use of Evidence: Support your speeches with credible evidence and use it strategically to strengthen your arguments.
  • Engage in Collaborative Dialogue: Participate actively in questioning and debates, demonstrating your understanding of the legislative process.

Rebuttal in Debate Tips

  • Identify Key Weaknesses: Quickly identify the weaknesses in your opponent's arguments to effectively counter their points.
  • Consistent Theme: Maintain a consistent theme throughout your rebuttal to reinforce your overarching position.
  • Confident Tone: Deliver your rebuttal with confidence, maintaining a strong and composed demeanor to leave a lasting impression on judges and the audience.

Strategies to Avoid in Debates

In the dynamic arena of debates, mastering effective strategies is crucial, but it's equally essential to be aware of and avoid certain counterproductive approaches. 

Here are tips for debate beginners about what they should avoid:

Avoid Ad Hominem Attacks

Personal attacks divert attention from the substance of the argument. Focus on ideas and avoid undermining your position with attacks on individuals.

Example: Instead of addressing the opponent's economic policy proposal, one might resort to saying, "You can't trust their ideas because they failed in managing their own business. How can we expect them to handle the economy?"

Don’t Cherry-Picking Evidence

Selective use of evidence weakens credibility. Present a well-rounded case by considering a comprehensive range of evidence. Even if it includes information that challenges your stance.

Example: In a debate about climate change, selectively presenting data that supports a particular viewpoint while ignoring comprehensive studies on the broader scientific consensus can create a misleading argument.

Ignoring Counterarguments

Failure to acknowledge valid counterarguments weakens your position. Engage with opposing viewpoints to demonstrate a nuanced understanding and strengthen your overall argument.

Example: In a discussion about education reform, dismissing valid concerns about the financial feasibility of proposed changes without providing substantive responses weakens the overall case.

Avoid Appealing to Emotions Exclusively

Relying solely on emotional appeals without substantive reasoning can lead to a superficial argument. Balance emotions with logical and factual support for a more compelling case.

Example: Instead of presenting data on crime rates, relying solely on emotional anecdotes to argue for increased law enforcement may overlook the broader social factors at play in crime prevention.

Failure to Adapt

Rigidity in your approach can hinder your effectiveness. Be open to adapting your strategy based on the flow of the discussion, new information, and the overall dynamics of the debate.

Example: Despite new research emerging during a debate on healthcare, sticking rigidly to preconceived notions without incorporating the updated information reflects a failure to adapt and undermines the credibility of the argument.

To sum up, successful debating involves more than just good strategies. It's crucial to steer clear of things like personal attacks, picking evidence selectively, ignoring opposing views, relying only on emotions, and being inflexible.

However, not everyone can craft a persuasive debate that captivates the audience. If you're not good at writing an interesting debate, get help from an expert speech writing service at MyPerfectWords.com.

Our legit essay writing service has professionals with experience and advanced degrees to make your arguments stronger.So, why wait?

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Cathy A.

WRITTEN BY

Cathy A. (Literature, Marketing)

Cathy has been been working as an author on our platform for over five years now. She has a Masters degree in mass communication and is well-versed in the art of writing. Cathy is a professional who takes her work seriously and is widely appreciated by clients for her excellent writing skills.

Cathy has been been working as an author on our platform for over five years now. She has a Masters degree in mass communication and is well-versed in the art of writing. Cathy is a professional who takes her work seriously and is widely appreciated by clients for her excellent writing skills.

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