Tips and Tricks learnt at the Oxford IV 2004

  • Points of information should only be taken when you are in a strong position (i.e.: you are giving an argument you know you can defend well).
  • Reversely only ask for points of information when the speaker seems to be in a weaker position. · Never take a point right after the end of your protected time because the other guy will have had maybe 20 seconds to think about what he will say.
  • Don’t forget that, as the speaker, those 5 minutes are yours: don’t hesitate to interrupt the person asking a point if it takes too long.
  • For Prop1 : The goal for Prop1 is to define the motion and give the main arguments of the proposition. The definition should take 1-2 minutes. The first speaker should be the one giving the most important arguments. The second speaker rebuts what the first speaker of the opposition said and gives the other arguments. Prop1 should try to give the key arguments of the debate and try not to leave any important argument to Prop2; they are competing against each other after all. However don’t go overboard and try to give too many arguments. Just 2 or 3 per speaker will do, just give the most important ones.
  • The role of Opp1 is similar to that of Prop1 in that they must give the main arguments against the motion. The goal is that Opp2 should not be given the chance to give a key argument.
  • On the second half of the table: the third speaker of each side are supposed to give an EXTENSION to the debate, which could be: either a key argument that hasn’t been mentioned yet (which means the other team hasn’t done a good job), or ….an extension. It’s really hard to define what a good extension is. Basically, you should explore an aspect of the problem that hasn’t been tacked yet. That extension is very important, it is the contribution of the team to the debate, what they bring on the table.
  • The fourth speaker of each team on the other hand should NOT bring any new material to the debate. His role is to summarize what has been said. There are two ways to go about it. First you follow the chronological structure of the debate, given the different arguments that have been brought up and clearly show that your team wins by having better arguments. The second and probably the better option is to be thematic and identify 2 or 3 themes that have come up several times throughout the debate. The key four the fourth speaker is to find the AREAS OF CLASHES : the 2 or 3 major points which have been argued, counter-argued, counter-counter-argued over and over and show that your team comes up as the better one.
  • Don’t forget teamwork : always refer to what your team mate has said or will say, try to emphasize the contribution on your team to the debate.
  • Never contradict the other team on your side, you should give a impression of unity within your side of the house, although you should try to show in a subtle and almost subliminal way that you and your team mate have done a better job.