Starting a debate is a bit tricky. This little guide is a great way to get your speech flowing just right. We have collected five ways on how to get your script started with examples that can fit your situation. These have been provided as we believe that debates need not be so aggressive and competitive. If you need more help with phrases then have a look at our cheat sheet to give you some ideas.
Tell a personal story
People are drawn to stories and personal insight from their accumulated years of experience. Using what you know from firsthand knowledge can really help connect with your audience and have them remember you. While it is not about standing out, it is about being authentic, intimate, and importantly, genuine.
- Pollution in the city.
- When I was a child growing up in rural England, I came to accept how clean and unpolluted it was. It was only when I moved to the city where I enrolled in a University, little did I realise that air pollution and excessive waste was a big problem…
- Society is becoming more aggressive.
- I have a friend who is a single mother, super intelligent, really brave and emotionally bright. A few days before Christmas she was at the supermarket and was looking for some tinned soup when out of nowhere someone pushed her…
- Greed has overcome the youth.
- When I was 10 years old I made a list. How to become a rich and famous before I was 30 years old. One that list I wrote down the following. Number one, get a job and put all of my money on the stock market, number two…
- You should love the work you do.
When I was 23 years old I was in Manchester studying a degree in Economics, now this was a course of study recommended, or rather bestowed upon me, by those who had my best interests at heart. Friends and family who assured me that studying Economics would lead me onwards to a career brimming full of prosperity. By the third year of studying, I was a little bit disillusioned with the whole thing and I was very eager to try something else anything else…
- We should build more nuclear power stations.
- I was fortunate enough to be raised by hippies. So you could say I grew up with environmentalism in my bones…
Share an amazing fact
Grabbing your audience’s attention is a great tactic too. During a debate, you can greatly improve your side’s position by giving facts, data, and statistics to bolster your points. If the facts are in your favour then you ought to argue the facts.
- The economy does not work for everyone.
- The average person in the UK only has 12 weeks worth of their income saved in the bank…
- Students have longer school days
- The average person spends 36% of their life asleep. For students, that’s a lot more.
- Advertising is harming society.
- Did you know that at least 60% of girls interviewed said that they have an unhealthy relationship with their body image…
- Drugs should be legalised.
- If you had to make a guess to how people die each year as a result of legal drug use in the entire world. What would you guess? Perhaps, 10,000 a year? Well, according to a UN report, the number was over 200,000 each and every year.
- Animal testing should be banned.
- There are approximately 20 million Americans who suffer from hyperthyroidism. The drug which helps their condition, Synthroid, and so prevents them from entering a dangerous coma, was developed with the help of animal testing from dogs, mice, and rats. Without this drug, these people would live a life of uncertainty and in fear of premature death.
Use a quotation
Using the words of others can be the most succinct way to summarise a topic or idea. It also adds weight and a reputation behind your argument.
- People should stop eating meat.
- Over the last 20 years, the number of people who are keenly changing their diet is steadily on the rise. Ellen DeGeneres notably became a vegan as she said in her own words after seeing “footage of what really goes on in the slaughterhouses and on the dairy farm”. The notion that eating meat is becoming less important…
- Violent video games should be banned.
- Parents, teachers and those in government often seek to end the public’s love affair with video games. While their fears are unfounded on fast, what is true that games can improve our mental development. Jane McGonigal, a game developer and psychologist, had this to say. “A game is an opportunity to focus our energy, with relentless optimism, at something we’re good at (or getting better at) and enjoy. In other words, gameplay is the direct emotional opposite of depression.”…
- Investing in space exploration is a waste of time and money.
- There are many who refute the practicalities of space exploration, saying that it is not profitable and lacks the ability to fund the economy. Entrepreneurs like Elon Musk have openly agreed that “we are at the dawn of a new era in commercial space exploration”. It is becoming clearer with the passing years that commercial space exploration is financially viable.
- The media is a morally corrupt industry
- “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses”. Words uttered half a century ago by Malcolm X, while referring to a different time and context, still rings true today.
Ask a question
Starting with a question engages your audience and gets them to think in a particular frame of mind. Winning debates is sometimes down to the perspective you are able to offer your audience.
- AI will rule the world.
- How many of you are creative? How many of you can write a symphony? How many of you possess genius-like math abilities? AI can do all of those things and more…
- Global warming is not real.
- Have you ever wondered how important the ocean is in our lives? The oceans provide half the oxygen we breathe and feed more than 2 billion people each day…
- Social media is the new TV and should be encouraged.
- Where did you hear about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s marriage announcement? Was it on the radio? How about on TV? Well, if you’re under 35 the chances are that you found out on Twitter or on Facebook…
State a problem
Giving a clear idea of the
- The internet is a danger to society
- It’s clear that our global civilisation is coming of age, we are communicating faster, doing business quicker, and learning volumes each and every day. That said, the trade in black market goods and services is not diminishing. What we choose to do with the internet can change the world.
- Technology is making the world fairer
- Technology that can be used to help people freely communicate in oppressive societies is the same technology that can be used to oppress freedom of speech. This is a problem we as a society need to resolve…
Using these five ways can really help you make a difference in your debating style and with some luck persuade your audience. let us know in the comments below how your debate went.