What is Debating?

A debate is a chance for people to speak passionately on either side of a specified topic – known as the “motion”. The motion is a carefully worded statement and one speaker will prepare a case in support (the “proposer”) whilst another will take a stance against it (the “opposer”). A Chairman runs the meeting and makes sure everyone gets a fair chance to speak.

Both speakers get 15 minutes to set out their argument, starting with the Proposer. After the main speeches the debate is opened to all those in the audience (the “floor”). Members and visitors alike are welcome to speak for up to three minutes on either side of the motion.

When everyone who wants to has had their say, the main speakers will sum up their side of the motion for about 5 minutes each. By tradition the Opposer goes first and the Proposer has the last word before a vote is taken.

Debating is not a public speaking competition and the audience is expected to cast their vote based on their views not on the quality of the speeches or the arguments outlined. Although of course the better the speaker the more likely they are to sway people's views to vote for them!

What’s really important is that Debators always respect one another's views, even when they may disagree with them! No matter how much we take opposing sides during the debate everyone walks out the best of friends afterwards!

 

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“Words are the most powerful drug used by Mankind”

— Rudyard Kipling

 

Member of the Brighton & Hove Arts Council