Updated: Sep 15
Most of the people might associate 'debating' with either the senior high school or college students or the television political 'speaking' that boasts two or more candidates talking over each other.
But if you think the order or opinion showmanship is the only association with debating, you're missing out on the exciting mental quest that will assist you in all aspects of your daily life from giving business decisions to pursuing your friends. This power to debate, to demonstrate compelling arguments, penetrate the sense of others and move those tables against withering cross-examinations-is one of the truest examinations of one's mental ability, yet we often relegate it to politicians and lawyers.
That is unfortunate because debating has the power to make us together as a community, help us hash out conflicts of thought, and create stronger arguments from understanding and compromise.
This art of debating requires mastering skills of obvious essential worth: The confidence to talk with people and sound reasonable; the structure of the rational statement; the knowledge to read an audience's reactions; and, perhaps most importantly, The disposition to see others' debates, and to react to them. Instead of getting into a creative and informative debate with no environment, use the way to clarify how you think and how you express the arguments.
This objective of this post is to give you some tips on how to become proficient in the skill of debating. You can use these in any situation, whether it's a school or a college debate or even a debate against your mom!
Read on to learn how to formulate crisp and convincing points in your head and how to effectively argue for your point.
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#1. Be familiar with both sides
A feature of most debatable topics is that there are normally great arguments to be made for either side of the debate. As a debater, it is your responsibility to be acquainted with both sides, determine which to argue for, and then take information and supporting facts to show why the other side's argument is illogical. Do this even if you don't have the choice to choose your side (as in a debate competition).
You must get to know all the information possible on a particular topic, instead of just sticking to the material you agree with. Being familiar with both the sides of the argument will help you understand how the opposition thinks and what their strengths are. Also, it will prepare you for counter-arguments.
A lot of people ask me "How can I win a debate if I know that I'm wrong?". Remember, in the end, nothing is right or wrong because perception cancels all lies. Seek to reflect on and expand upon the opinion-based elements of the claim. Being persistent, loud and repeatedly saying the same thing can wear away your opponent, no matter how wrong you are.
#2. Use facts and evidence
Winning an argument requires you to use logic in order to construct evidence-based cases. This shows you are well-prepared and unbiased. When you make passionate claims for what you want or believe in, the opponent will be able to come out on top quickly.
If your argument is full of your assumptions, your opponent may ask why people would trust your opinion. To avoid this, keep your argument away from your personal opinions.
If you have enough time to prepare your argument beforehand, I strongly recommend you to do extensive research on the topic. Begin with a quick search by Google on the topic you are debating about. That will have some context information for you. Then look for your topic books, then go to the nearest library or school library to check them out. You may consult the librarian for finding credible sources.
It is important to add quotes from sources that are considered scholarly, in order to make the argument more credible. It is important to note that everyone can write stuff on the internet for authenticity without some sort of publishing guidelines, and using blogs and other websites as a source is not a wise idea in a debate. Look for pages with .gov, .edu, and .org domains. Double-check the details even for these pages, and read about the experience of their authors. Be especially cautious about online websites which have errors in spelling or grammar! They may not have the most accurate information.
Making use of statistics from verifiable sources in debates shows that you have substantial knowledge about the subject. Quoting facts in a statement can be a perfect way to provide clear proof. In addition, figures also include comparisons of the outcomes over time. So if, for instance, you 're arguing about a shift in government policy, figures might be the best proof to help you support the case.
Further, you should also focus on historical references to contextualise the point. They will further clarify how the point applies to what happened over the last few years. This evidence is useful if you want to show how the world has come to where it is today and if that means things have to change or remain the same
Some Useful Tips:
Remember that very often, data can be distorted in the hands of clever opponents. When your competitor quotes figures, listen very closely to the sponsors of the report to which they refer, the date and period of the analysis, the precision of their numbers, and the relationship between the stats and your case.
While you must invoke the views of experts in your case, be prepared for your opponent to contest the evidence as an assertion rather than a fact. Explain how the expert came to its decision to use this sort of proof efficiently. Provide crucial information that proves why the analysis is compelling.
#3. Identify illogical arguments
During your counter-argument find out needlessly convoluted points. Listen attentively as the opponent makes an argument and take note of it. Note when they say they argue for one thing, but it's obvious that their stance does favour something different. Analyzing the reliability of the references is very important. Watch out for these fallacies while your opponent is speaking:
A non-sequitur: A non-sequitur is an illogical statement. For instance, if anyone asks what it is like outside and you say, "It's 10 o'clock," you've used a non-sequitur or made a comment that doesn't fit to what was being addressed. And if you debate whether or not soft drinks should be banned, the opponent may say, "Kids enjoy soft drinks, so they should not be banned." This is an illogical argument since while most children love soft drinks, they aren't the healthiest drink choice
A post hoc fallacy: A post hoc ergo propter hoc or post hoc fallacy is a fallacy that states: "Since event Y followed event X, event Y must have been caused by event X."
#4. Listen carefully
You'll need to listen to the other person and truly understand their opinions. A dispute involves two (or more) entities with opposing opinions about something. One person is very rarely completely wrong and the other is absolutely right. To win a debate you need to assess their points and make sure the other party thinks they've been heard.
If the other individual raises their points, be sure to look at them in the eye, and listen to what they say. Do not try to devise the next point until they have expressed what they have to say.
If you feel distracted or unclear, ask clarifying questions to ensure you understand their point.
#5. Stay calm
Keeping cool is the secret to winning a debate. The more agitated and frustrated you are, the tougher it would be for you to successfully get your point across. It takes patience, but the more you can control your temper, the easier it will be for you to debate.
However, if that isn't possible, remember to breathe while you have the argument. It may be easy to get the thoughts out as quickly and loud as possible, but the more time you take to say what you need to say, the more peacefully you consider yourself.
Keep an open and not defensive body language. You can use your body to trick your brain into being easier.
Those were the five most effective ways that'll help you in winning a debate. What kinds of content would you like to see more on this blog? Let me know in the comments.