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

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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...
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