Competitive debating is about defending or attacking a motion as persuasively as possible. A panel of judges decides who won the debate on the basis of the persuasiveness of the debaters. As such, a judge’s opinion does not matter when deciding upon the ranking; what does matter is argumentation, strategy, and presentation.
Competitive debating is a good method to work on crucial soft skills (AKA 21st century skills) like delivering a message powerfully and to quickly analyse someone else’s arguments. Moreover, it forces the debater to consider socially important questions with healthy criticism.
Most people know debating from politics or VARA’s Onderweg Naar Het Lagerhuis. However, there are very important differences between such debates and competitive debating:
Competitive debating is mainly practised at high schools, universities of applied sciences, and research universities. There are debating societies throughout the Netherlands that you can join to get better at competitive debating.