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10 tips that will make you good at debating

10 tips that will make you good at debating

The art of debating is one that many people shy away from because of the amount knowledge and research it requires.  More than that, debating is generally associated with speaking in front of crowds, which is a nightmare for the average human. No one is born on stage, even renowned public speakers admit that they had to overcome stage fright. But there are a few things which will make it easier for you to become a well-rounded debater. Here Sibhekile Magagula provides the the top 10 tips that will improve your debating skills and confidence. 

1. Be inquisitive

Have an insatiable hunger for knowledge. Strive to know something about everything because debate motions range from politics to economics to social as well as environmental issues; plus all that there is under the sun. So the best way out – read, read and read more!

2. Accept nothing! 

Do not just accept every idea thrown at you. Think carefully about it, question it and if supporting, support articulately; if dismissing, dismiss convincingly.

3. Be a good listener

Being a good listener will help you find all the gaps in statements and opinions, which you can then better with logic.

4. Think analytically 

To be able to hold a debate, you will need to have understood the world around you and what the catalysts are. This will help strengthen your arguments as you will be speaking from an informed perspective. And sometimes, thinking analytically only means  to apply some common sense to every thing your opponent might say. 

5. Be bold

Be brisk while making your arguments You don’t have to be aggressive and shut others down, but your tone should be a convincing one. Practice talking in a convincing voice in everyday situations. 

6. Work on your public speaking skills

You want the ability to stand in front of a crowd and address it, with a well-projected voice, bold tone and a stimulating stage presence. To obtain this start small; maybe by practicing talking out loud in front of a mirror. Another good tip is to film yourself when practicing a speech- it’s painful to watch, I know- but you will be amazed at how it helps towards noticing little insecurities that you want to work at. 

7. Think fast!

Debates are often timed, and even if they are not, being a fast thinker will help you pin down the opposition’s point before they get away with it. Or if you are the one being opposed, you will be able to respond quickly and crush any points cast against your argument. Fast thinking really goes back to no. 1. If you’re knowledgeable about your subject you will automatically process information quicker. 

8. Deal with your nerves…

…Or fake it till you make it. Most people are probably nervous but some are better at hiding it than others. Try and change your habits; maybe when you get nervous you tend to hold your arms in front of your chest. We do this simply because we look for something to distract us from the nervousness, so the habit could really be exchanged for anything. Next time you get nervous, decide that you will focus on speaking extra loudly. No one will know that this is your technique for battling nervousness, and you’ll sound more convincing in the process. 

9. Work on your team-working skills

Be able to work alongside others to construct a well-formed argument. Again, it is important to listen, since you can always learn new perspectives from others.  I mean even a jury is never a jury of just one person.

10. Be confident

Come on, believe in you! Have a flair for speech and bring it across well. Be sure of what you are saying because you cannot convince others if you are not convinced yourself. To me, having flair in speech also means incorporating some wit; if you can, using some sarcasm or acceptable jokes in your speech might win your audience round to your point of view. 

Now, go shoot them with words, since guns are illegal. 

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