In a debate, both sides write constructive speeches that cover the topic of the debate. Whatever the topic of the debate is, there will be a positive and negative side; this does not refer to the attitude of the speakers, but to the content of their position. The team or individual who takes the negative side of the speech will need to respond both to the topic of the debate and to the positive case. The negative debate must still build an explanatory case while taking the negative or "no" position.

Read the debate question. The question or topic of debate should be a yes or no or two-sided statement that can be researched and support both a positive and negative debate position.

Research the topic. Information should be found from reputable resources that present a fair analysis of the topic and allow you to form your own opinion based on the evidence presented. Use information that supports the negative side of the debate.

Begin organizing your opening speech. Most debates have two to three sections, with an opening speech and two rebuttals or question periods. Prepare an opening speech that introduces the negative position and provides 3 to 5 main points, each with supporting evidence.

Organize a rebuttal and prepare answers to questions. Outline and describe possible rebuttals to your points and develop responses to them. Be sure to back up all points with evidence.

Prepare questions for the positive team or individual. Find weaknesses in the positive position and prepare questions and evidence to ask for during the debate. Write 5 to 10 questions for the positive team.