Whenever you have a question about life’s crucial issues, there is only one place to go: Pinterest, the ultimate authority on contemporary culture, life, and philosophy. Its wisdom cannot be understated. When you need the latest fashion trends, Pinterest has you covered. Want to learn about Cockney rhyming slang? Yep, Pinterest has that too.

There’s just one thing it’s missing: how to improve your organization skills in debate. So I thought I’d help Pinterest out a bit, and give you some ways to improve on-the-spot organization.

Drill 1: Nonsense Speeches

Focus: Speech Structure
Step 1:
Pick any random topic—dogs, bananas, leprechauns, the electoral college…The subject is virtually irrelevant.
Step 2: Give an impromptu speech. Focus on organization—having an intro, topic/thesis, three points, conclusion, etc.
Step 3: Critique your performance. You can do this yourself or get a friend to help out.
Step 4: Give the same speech, but with better organization.
Step 5: Repeat as necessary. You’ll need to do this way more times than you think you have to. You can try adding organizational elements in one at a time (i.e., start with having three points, then next time add a concise thesis, then an engaging intro, then a summary in the conclusion, etc.).

Drill 2: Skeleton Speech

Focus: Speech Structure
Step 1:
Listen to or read a 1AC, flow it, and flow your 1NC.
Step 2: Stand up to give the speech, but instead of actually presenting each argument, just talk through them in a logical progression. “First, I would start with an intro about ___. Then, I would talk about the ___, then the ___, and then the ___. Then I would conclude with a 5-7 word summary of each argument, and link it back to my intro.” This helps you see where arguments fit into the overall picture without worrying too much about articulating content.

Drill 3: Point of Power

Focus: Argument Structure
Step 1:
Pick an argument from a brief.
Step 2: Present that argument using claim, warrant, impact.
Step 3: Repeat, but do it better.
Optional Step 4: Refute your own point using correct Four Point Refutation (they said, I say, because, and why it matters).

Drill 4: Undercover Argument

Focus: Argument Structure
Step 1:
Pull a random paragraph from an online article.
Step 2: Identify the claim of the paragraph, the warrant, and the impact.
Step 3: Present that claim, warrant, and impact as if it were an argument in a debate round.

Use these drills until your organization is tighter than a Roman testudo.

For other quick tips to fix common debate struggles, stay tuned for more posts in our speed tip series.

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