During a policy debate, a speaker takes a position for or against a proposition and uses a constructive speech to argue his side of the issue. Both the affirmative team and the negative team give constructive speeches. The first affirms the resolution and calls for change; the second challenges the affirmative position. Affirmative speeches begin the debate, while negative speeches respond to the assertions of the affirmative speaker. The two speeches are structured in slightly different ways.
Positive or Negative
Gather research that supports your position. Organize it sequentially, so that as you write your speech one point will follow from another. Support every point in the speech with facts from the research. If you are writing an affirmative speech, follow steps 3 and 4. If you are writing a negative speech, follow steps 5 and 6.
Begin a positive constructive speech introduction with an attention-grabber and follow it with a restatement of the proposition or resolution. Complete the introduction by listing the reasons you agree with the proposition.
Define the terms you are using in your speech, then give the reasons why you are calling for change; list them one by one. Follow this with a clear explanation of the planned change. Conclude with a call for support of the affirmative position.
Remember that a negative constructive speech is a response to the affirmative speech. State the reasons you are against your opponent's plan and why your opponent's points are wrong. Follow this with a counter-plan and explain why it is more suitable than the affirmative plan.
Disagree with the definitions given by your opponent and offer your own definitions. State the flaws in the proposed change one by one: its disadvantages, negative consequences and faulty assumptions. Conclude with a statement that the affirmative plan must fail or offer a plan of your own.
Policy debate is carefully structured by several associations. Many high schools and colleges offer coaching and instruction on all aspects, including speech writing.
- Rick Audet