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What Are They Key Factors for Success in Debating; Team Processes and Preparation, or the Public Speaking Skills Employed

What Are They Key Factors for Success in Debating; Team Processes and Preparation, or the Public Speaking Skills Employed

What are they key factors for success in debating; team processes and preparation, or the public speaking skills employed in the debate’s delivery? Use your own debate as a case study to answer this question and ground your analysis in communication theory. Successful debating involves the use of the key skills involved in public speaking. Without these skills you will be unable to get your message across to the audience and as such will not be effective in delivering your speech or the debate as a whole.

Public speaking skills are vital to debate as your role as a speaker means you must convince the audience that your point of view is correct, debaters use rhetoric to achieve this along with many other rhetorical devices such as overstatement, definition, irony and metaphor. Paralinguistics are a key component to any speech and hence any debate. How we use our voice is paramount our success and the audiences belief in what we are saying.

Outside of what we say and how we say it a lot the audiences understanding comes from the debater’s non verbal communication, the way the debater uses facial expression, body movement and the gestures made all impact the audience and make the debate a success. It is a combination of these public speaking skills that are paramount to the success of a debate. This essay will use a debate held on Monday 23rd May as a case study to support that successful debates happen because debaters use key public speaking skills .

Debaters use rhetoric and rhetorical devices overstatement, definition, irony and metaphor to make their opinions clear to the audience . Rhetoric goes back to ‘the Greek philosopher Aristotle who divided rhetoric into two general areas – public speaking and logical discussion’ (Marsen 2006: 39). Aristotle separated rhetoric in public speaking into ‘three primary aspects, logos, the appeal to logic; pathos, the appeal to emotions; and ethos, the appeal to credibility’ (Eunson 2005: 379).

It is these three areas that public speakers need to appeal to in order to be believed and connect with the audience. The first and fourth speakers on the affirmative team use pathos effectively as they appealed to the audience’s emotions but asking ‘what if this was happening to you or your family, how would you feel’. In doing this they encouraged the audience to participate in the debate and join the affirmatives side in the debate.

It is these appeals to emotion and the use of rhetoric that make a successful debate . Marsen (Marsen 2006:42-44) lists rhetorical devices metaphor, irony, definition, analogy and overstatement a s being vital to effective public speaking. These devices allow for the speaker to rebut the opposition and re-establish what they are saying as credible and believable. ‘[I]rony is arguably one of the most widespread effective and complicated rhetorical devices (Marsen 2006:42). Speaker four on the affirmative team showed a mastery of this rhetoric device as the speaker was able to use irony ‘to criticize, ridicule and [or] insult (Marsen 2006;42)’ the opposing team in order to reject what the other speakers were saying and support the affirmative teams stance. Rhetorical devices are paramount to the success of a debate as they allow for interesting communication between speaker and audience. Paralinguistics are a key component to any speech and hence any debate. How we use our voice is paramount our success and the audiences belief in what we are saying.

Eunson (Eunson 2005:237) states that ‘the meaning of the words we use…can be modified substantially by paralinguistic changes. ’ It is how we say something not what we are saying that has the greatest impact on the audience. Wood states (Wood 2008, 107)‘Our voices are versatile instruments that tell others how to interpret us and what we say’ It is differences in and subtle changes to ‘emphasis volume pitch, inflection, nasality and articulation (Eunson 2005:237)’ that help convey the speakers meaning.

Pause and the use of silence is also an effective tool in public speaking. ‘Silence can sometimes be more important than words or sounds’ (Eunson 2005:238) as it allows the audience time to reflect on and understand what has been said, it can also help emphasis an important message from the speaker. In the case study the second speaker on the affirmative team struggled to pause throughout her speech because of this a lot of her message was missed by the audience and the speaker received negative feedback from the audience about this.

The first affirmative speaker used volume, pitch and tone with expertise during the speech and took the audience into the speech allowing them to feel anger, disgust and sympathy, silence was also employed to allow the audience to digest what the speaker was saying. Paralinguistics can change the meaning of what we are saying and assist in making the speaker’s point of view clearer to the audience; these skills are a key component to a successful debate. Outside of what we say and how we say it a lot the audiences understanding comes rom the debater’s non verbal communication, the way the debater uses facial expression, body movement and the gestures made all impact the audience and make the debate a success. Marsen (Marsen 2006:48) defines non verbal communication as communication that does not rely on words to communication. ‘This involves eye contact, posture, gesture, orientation, body language and facial expression (Eunson 2005: 234-235) Non verbal is so important in debate as up to ninety percent of the information gained by the audience is due to non verbal communication (Eunson 2005:234).

Is it so valuable to use non verbal communication well during a debate as ‘communication specialists [suggest] that people tend to remember visual signs more than they remember verbal (Marsen 2006:48) This is crucial in a debate as the speaker wants there message to stay in the audiences head long after they have finished speaking. The speaker also uses non verbal communication to gain the trust of the audience, the audience is more likely to trust a speaker that looks them in the eye, stands up straight and interacts with them.

Mehrabian states ‘others mistrust what we say – they rely almost completely on what we do (Mehrabian as cited in Berger 2006:49). ’ Facial expression is one form of non verbal communication that speaks volumes to the audience. Facial expressions give what we say emotion, be it happiness, anger, disgust, perplexity, truthfulness or fear, it is our facial expression that gives this information not what we say (Ekman & Terrence as cited in Berger 2006:52).

In the case study the fourth affirmative speakers face showed disbelief whilst the speaker recited words from the negative team, successfully getting the audience to mistrust what the opposition speaker had said. The second affirmative speaker showed disgust when talking about the content of the opposition team’s speech effectively allowing the audience to join the speaker in disgust and disregard what the opposition had said.

Non verbal communication skills are part of the key to a successful debate as they allow the speaker to communicate more effectively with the audience and pitch themselves as trustworthy and credible speaker. The key public speaking skills discussed and evidence from the case study show that these are the most important skills in order to deliver a successful debate. Paralinguistics are key as they emphasise the point we are trying to make and clarify and misinterpretation, they assist in making the speaker’s point of view clearer to the audience. The rhetorical devices sed in a debate are paramount to success as they allow for interesting communication between speaker and audience. Non verbal communication skills are key component to a successful debate as they allow the speaker to communicate more effectively with the audience and pitch themselves as trustworthy and credible speaker. Public speaking skills are the most important part of delivering a successful debate as it doesn’t matter how much research or knowledge you have, if you are unable to communicate this effectively with your audience, it is useless.

Public speaking skills are the key factor to successful public speaking and debating. Word Count -1303? References •Berger, Arthur Asa 2006, 50 Ways to understand communication, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers •Eunson, B 2006, Communicating in the 21st Century, John Wiley & Sons, Australia •Marsen, Sky 2006, Communication studies, Palgrave foundation, New York USA •Wood, Julia 2008, Communication Mosaics 5th edition, Thomson Wadsworth, USA ?