How to Close a Debate Speech

How to Close a Debate Speech

Debates are a competition between two debate teams, one arguing for an affirmation of the topic and the other arguing for the negation. Competitions divide each debate into a number of speeches, determined by the style of the debate. A debate speech is a carefully constructed argument, designed to counter an opponent’s argument, while explaining the virtues of your argument. In closing your debate speech, you have the opportunity to reiterate your most important points, close your arguments, give your judges something to remember about your speech and then provide a natural closing.

Complete your arguments by making your final statements about your case. Use a quotation, if you have one available, that wraps up your final argument or provides some closure to your case. Double-check your notes and make sure that you have addresses all of your opponents arguments and concluded your case. If you find an argument by your opponent that you have not addressed, address it before you conclude your speech.

Explain the most important points in your case as an overview for your judges. You can do this by restating each of your main points or by offering a general statement about your case. For instance, if you are arguing for basic human rights over national interest, you may want to offer a quick general statement about the urgency of human rights and society’s responsibility to consider them first. While your speech addressed this general statement with more direct information, the general statement shows your judges that you understand your issue and care about your overall case.

Tell your judges how to vote. Provide a simple statement, such as, “After reviewing the information about this topic, you must vote to affirm the topic.” Continue by explaining the specific weakness in your opponent’s argument. As an example, you can say, “Our opponents today failed to contend with our most important point, about the value of human rights and its essential place in a virtuous society.” Be specific about which points your opponents failed to address and stress the important of these issues.

Use specific vocal inflections to suggest that you are moving into the conclusion of your speech. Move your notes away from you and look directly at the judges, while you are giving an overview of your case and explaining the weaknesses in your opponents case. Speak slower than you did during your actual speech, using the change of pace to help your final statements stick in your judges’ minds. Practice your final inflection, lowering you voice and slowing your speech as you make your final comments.

Kristyn Hammond has been teaching freshman college composition at the university level since 2010. She has experience teaching developmental writing, freshman composition, and freshman composition and research. She currently resides in Central Texas where she works for a small university in the Texas A&M system of schools.