Debating: Miscellaneous Tips and Tricks

doorMascha Bloemer

Debating: Miscellaneous Tips and Tricks

In debating there are a lot of different situations you can think of. Our reporter Srdjan gives some tips and tricks. Most people involved in debating faced at least one of those situations, so it’s useful for everyone!

Note: these views do not necessarily reflect the views of the entire debating community, but only those of one person.

By Srdjan Miletic


  • You’re not in a debate.
  • Be calm. Avoid hysteria like the plague.
  • Speak for yourself. “I don’t buy this argument” is always more persuasive than “We don’t buy this argument”.
  • Control your hands.
  • Drop filler words. Comparative, analysis and clash can have meaning. Too often they don’t.


  • Your partner is never dragging you down. You’re just not good enough to pull them up.
  • You can Pro-Am to win or you can Pro-Am to teach. Be clear on which you’re doing.


  • Counter-Props are a thing. Ignore them at your peril
  • Don’t win clashes. Win the debate.
  • Rebuttal is constructive
  • Constructive can be rebuttal.
  • Examples can be arguments.
  • Consequentialism is nigh impossible to challenge. Utilitarianism is not


  • The Average Informed Voter is neither left-wing nor a feminist.
  • Argumentative sophistication is not persuasiveness.
  • Truth is not binary.
  • Persuasiveness = Truth(%) * Importance
  • Rebuttal is as good as constructive
  • Metrics are important


  • Counter Props are a thing. Either have a clear position on them OR take a position on a motion by motion basis
  • “THW do X as opposed to Y” is an effective way of excluding counter-props on a motion by motion basis

Being a Good Person

  • If someone is worse at debating, that doesn’t mean they’re less intelligent.
  • If someone is less intelligent, that doesn’t mean they’re a bad person.
  • If someone is a bad person, that doesn’t mean you should treat them badly.
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Mascha Bloemer contributor