What is the very first thing you are going to remember about this post? Probably the title. Unless I can top that title with an equally intense conclusion.
The same principle applies to debate and applies to speaking in general.
Actually there are two principles in that. One, people remember things that stand out no matter what technique used. And two, people remember the first and last things about a speech.
So here is what a debate speech should contain: a strong intro & conclusion and memorable phrases or points, even better if you can combine them.
I have an example, and look at that, it’s about Josiah McPeak and Patrick Shipsey.
I can’t remember much about the final debate round at Nationals last year. I remember the case, but I can’t remember the flow or any statistics. And I can’t remember negative’s arguments for the most part. I DO remember a couple things: Patrick’s CX about a penny (ending with the word “wow”), Patrick’s example of “daddy” gambling for an electrostatic precipitator, and Patrick’s story about the pony he never got.
I remember those examples, phrases, and conclusions nearly a year later.
That’s what every debater should be going for when they give a speech: will my audience (including the judge) remember this later?
I posted a while ago back in April, as I was preparing for regionals, about speaking like a person and I mentioned my declining speaker points and how I hoped to improve them at regionals.
Well I focused extremely hard on my speaking by studying figures of speech and using prep time to write out my conclusions and intros. And my speaks improved dramatically; I received comments on my ballots such as “used memorable phrases,” “powerful conclusions,” “stood out among other team.”
Apply this. Does saying “In the fastest speech of the debate round, the five-minute-to-respond-to-thirteen-minutes 1AR, I will be going down the flow and addressing some arguments!” matter?
Well first off, of course you are going to respond to the arguments, and in answer to the question, no.
Does saying “Judge, if you vote for the negative team you vote for policy failure, you vote for principle failure, and, most importantly, you vote for American failure, and that’s why it’s crucial to be voting affirmative today.” matter?
Yes. Or at least more than the former.
I leave you with this: for a good feeling, say what matters no matter when, no matter what.
As Orbit gum is to clean mouths, so are meaningful beginnings and endings to successful speeches.
And I bet you’ll remember the fact that I began and ended my catch-phrase with Orbit’s catch-phrase.
excellent post, Drew. and it is so true that 1) Patrick’s pony is what we remember about that round and 2) we can do the exact same thing in our speeches and make them exceedingly memorable (for the judges and the audience. 😉 )