10 Tips How to write a debate speech

10 Tips How to write a debate speech

1.  Begin with a greeting…

It’s important to recognise who you’re talking to.  You might be addressing your school, some adjudicators or some dignitaries. 

Dear teachers, students and adjudicators…

2. …but don’t go on too long

Don’t spend ages on a long and complicated greeting.  Get to your main point as soon as possible.  Don’t let your audience fall asleep before you’ve begun.

I am honoured to be able to stand before you today to put forward my belief that…


3.  Make your position clear at the beginning of the debate speech

State which side of the motion you are defending right at the start.  Your reader doesn’t want to wait for you to be half way through your speech before they’re aware of your position. 

I am here to defend the affirmative side of the motion…

4.  Use the first person ‘I/we’ to refer to the speaker/the speaker’s team, ‘you’ the audience


Using the first person inclusive pronoun helps to carry your reader with you.  It’s as if your audience has to agree with you. 

·       I am sure you share my opinion that…

·       We all believe that…

·       You and I both know that…

·       There is not a person in this room who does not think that…


5. consider and refute the points made by the team he is arguing against.


The key to a successful debate speech is not only the arguments that you make. Remember that there are always two teams in a debate.


·       Our opponents would have believed… , but they are mistaken.

·       It might seem logical to accept the opposing argument, but in fact it is deeply flawed.

·       My opponents might argue that … , but such reasoning is faulty.


6. Use persuasive language

(Emotive Vocabulary)


A good speaker does not simply present his audience with rational analysis or facts: he or she has to stir up his audience’s emotions and feelings. Often, it is not the most reasonable speeches that are effective, but rather the most dramatic or passionate. Use strong, exclamatory items vocabulary to emphasise how wrong the opinion you are arguing against is.

·       It is shocking that…

·       It is shameful that…

·       It is depressing to think that…

·       It is short-sighted of them to think that…

·       It is outrageous that…

·       It is criminal that…

7. Use persuasive language



There are a number of strategies for making your speech seem more authoritative. Using impersonal constructions to introduce your arguments is one such strategy.


·       No one can deny that… (無可否認)

·       There is widespread agreement/consensus/universal acknowledgement that … (普遍認同)

·       It is a fundamental truth that…

·       It is clear/obvious/unquestionable/ undeniable that…

8. Use persuasive language

(Tricolons – the power of three)

For some reason, language carries much greater weight when it is organised into units of three. These patterns are called tricolons.

One famous example of a tricolon is the comment made by a Roman general, Julius Caesar, when he returned to Italy after winning a war:

“I came, I saw, I conquered

9.  Use P.E.E.

As in all persuasive writing use this structure:

Point – what’s your main argument?
– what example can you use to support the argument?
– what’s the link between the point and the evidence.

Teenagers need to be taught about the dangers of drinking, since if we do not educate them they might die under the influence of alcohol like school girl Jenny Kim.  A failure to educate children on these issues is tantamount to signing their death warrants. 

10.  End on a strong note – Restate the main theme of your speech and repeat your opinion

Summarise your argument in a short but powerful sentence at the end. 

The way we stop smoking is education, not criminalization.

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