Toastmasters » Debate and Persuasion techniques

Debate and Persuasion techniques

TMlogo gif“If you just communicate, you can get by. But if you communicate skilfully, you can work miracles.” By Jim Rohan


In toastmasters, we do believe in the power of words, that it can change someone’s life to better or to worse. So we do inspire in using the positive words to encourage people in to have perspective and respect to one another. Within the arguments, we demonstrate the strength of persuasion techniques in very professional aspect. The debate is one of the most important types of any spoken communication which we as toastmasters implement in our clubs. Having a debate takes a lot of effort and learning to achieve the required goals. It is not simple as many might think. It goes with lots of procedures, process, and preparations. It needs marvelous skills like critical thinking, persuasion strategy, patience and persistence supporting your beliefs with evidence and facts done through research. 


The debate is the interpretation of who you are as a human being highlighting your mentality and perspective about life and people. With the ability to convince the others to follow your lead using all the techniques in spoken communication. There always two teams arguing on a certain resolution or statement to support whether as an affirmative or a negative team.   


But the big question is what do you need in your debate? The answer is very simple as following;


1 Preparation by doing research 

The most important element to win any debate or augment is you doing your research and collect all the data your need to support your statements. Without a research, you only citing your thought which barely anyone would take it seriously. But with research, you demonstrate yourself and your team as trustworthy to your audience. There is some kind of misconception about the research itself. Preparation is NOT to find evidence and facts only for your supportive team, you need to do research almost 70% to support your team, and 30% research as the opponent team. This will give you a hint of what they might find in their research and how to respond to their argument in more efficiently. 


2 Taking notes

Another important strategy you can implement to win a debate is taking notes. When your opponent team starts citing all their information, you spend the time to take note. This will help you in your critical thinking in the rebuttal session when you will have a chance to reply to them. Taking notes is to draw a bigger picture on which direction is your opponent team aiming to. With this notes will help you in a way to manipulate and twist your opponent words to get more points from your audience.   


3 Focusing on audience NOT your opponent team

In the very simple question, who you are trying to persuade?? Your opponent team or your audience?? The answer is your audience so all your focus should be to your audience NOT your opponent. Just the way you made your mind, it same goes to your opponent. Both of team already have their 100% belief towards to topic. It’s the audience and the judges who did not make their thought yet. It’s up to your persuasions skills to make your audience on your side. Once again, you do respond to your opponent team, but your focus always toward the audience and the judges only. In this way, you will maintain your patience and serenity which will lead to your winning and developing the anxiety atmosphere of other team members.


4 Keeping your calm and NOT losing your temper 

Last but not at least, always remind yourself to keep calm and not to lose the temper. Once you lose your temper, you lose yourself. Basically, you will forget about the preparation, research, teamwork, and your audience. Instead, your focus will be on your opponent team which will lead to your failure in a debate. In psychology proven that if human lose their temper, they end up losing all the logics and rational aspects which are all about debate, logic and rational behavior. 


MTM Sameirah Abdouli

Vice President-Public Relationship

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