Chances are at some time in your life you have had a debate or you will have a debate. These debates can be formal, such as on an organized debate team, or you may just need to artfully argue to get your point across. Effective debating, no matter what the forum, takes preparation. There are definite steps you need to take to adequately prepare yourself to debate and defend your positions.
The key to preparing for a debate is researching your side of the argument. Having an opinion isn't enough to be effective in a debate. You need to be able to have strong supporting materials for your side of the debate. Spend time brainstorming your topic and write out a list of pros and cons for your topic. Build your argument on the pros and find ways to minimize the cons. Also look at the cons and know your debate opponent will focus his or her arguments on these points. Look for ways to rebut the points.
Include relevant facts that may be surprising to the person or group you are debating. People want to hear facts that they didn't already know. The more related relevant facts you include, the stronger your presentation becomes.
Learn how to effectively communicate your positions. You may have a great position on a certain subject, but if you can't effectively communicate that to an audience, it won't matter in a debate. Practice in front of others and even in front of a mirror. Look confident because no one will buy an argument from someone who isn't confident himself.
Train yourself to fully respect the other debater. Nothing turns someone off more than a debater who just won't allow the other person to get a word in. Even if you are convinced you are right, you must give the other person time to speak his or her mind as well.
Prepare to have a rebuttal to the arguments that the other person will make. Many times you can know what they will say ahead of time and prepare yourself with facts that contradict their argument.
Research and research some more. You can never have enough supporting evidence.
Don't act unprofessional or your argument will be discredited.
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