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reptece

Talking fast in rebuttals?

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Hello, this is my first year in policy debate and I was wondering how the older debaters talk so fast in their rebuttals. I was hoping for some tips on how to spread in rebuttals as well, like, I have a lot of arguments in my head and I sort of know what to say but when I try to talk fast the info just gets lost and comes out as broken English have the time. :[ Any of you older debaters wanna give me some tips? Thanks for reading.

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First, Practice. A lot. Try to do as many rounds as often as you can and the speed will come with familiarity. Familiarity is probably the single most important thing that can help you.The more familiar you are with your arguments, the more concise you will become which can help with speed.

 

Second, after every tournament, take your flows from every round that you lost, and give your rebuttals again and again until they are perfect. Turn them into rebuttals that would win you the round. This will help you learn your arguments better and it will help you learn to streamline important arguments so that you do not waste time. 

 

Don't get discouraged and the speed will come.

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It just comes. Last year, I was a pretty terrible novice who just read Baudrillard blocks and won a bunch of tournaments. But, at the end of last year, I started... get this.... actually debating OFF (Without) MY BLOCKS! And it works too. At the state tournament, I beat the team that ended up winning the entire tournament. So, yeah, speed isn't important, understanding your arguments and not being reliant on blocks is important. Speed comes with understanding your arguments. Last year, I couldn't spread a rebuttal at all, but now it just comes naturally. 

Edited by CapitalismIsNotCool
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When debaters try to spread in rebuttals and they struggle it is because of one of two things: either their brain is too far ahead of their mouth, or their mouth is going ahead of their brain.  Luckily the solution for both things is the same: slow down. (temporarily) practicing at slower speeds is the easiest way to train your brain/mouth to speed up.

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slow down. (temporarily) practicing at slower speeds is the easiest way to train your brain/mouth to speed up.

So true.  Repetition and knowing what you're going to say are the easiest ways to pick up speed

 

As a note for all speeches but especially rebuttals, don't try to start spreading really fast.  Start at average or just above speed, then your pace will naturally pick up as you continue to give your speech

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Maury said a few years ago:
 

Speed is a natural product of speaking clearly. I strongly believe the only way to become a better speaker is by reading evidence in your normal voice, with normal but CLEAR articulation, and normal rhythm. Double breathing, stuttering, being incomprehensible - all of this is a product of "trying to go fast". If you speak as your normally would, and slowly try to speak quicker, you will notice your speaker points skyrocketing quickly. You should never sacrifice normal speaking patterns for speed.

In pragmatic terms, I suggest a simple drill: read a piece of evidence the way you would read a speech to a crowd. Then read it again, trying to shave off 10% of your time. Repeat until you feel you are where you want to be, speed wise. The trick is that you should instantly stop and repeat if you stutter, skip, or in any other way muddle the content of the card. Taking the time to make sure your evidence is crystal clear now will pay off in dividends later. The clearer you are, and the better you can speak a piece of evidence into being, the more speed will come naturally. As the quality of your voice improves, the quantity of your words/minute will improve naturally.

There is no point in doing the pen drill. There is no point in trying to get through a card quickly if you must distort your voice to do so. There is a reason Stephen Weil top spoke at the NDT: if you could write fast enough, you could flow every word he says. You should push yourself in that direction first and foremost, and the best way to do that is to slow yourself down.

You should also remember that the difference between conversational speed and "spreading" is much smaller than you would think. Time it yourself, but you really aren't getting out much more per minute. Speed is thoughts communicated per second: the amount of words it takes you to get there is secondary. to recap: 1. read cards with inflection, the way you would in a public speech, then reread that evidence at a slightly quicker pace. Repeat until you're the best speaker on the planet. 2. clarity > speed, working on clarity solves stuttering 3. Stephen Weil = awesome - be like him.

 

I disagree with the proposed drill where each time a mistake is made the drill starts over. Everything else in the post is excellent though, IMO.

Edited by Chaos
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The most important thing for a debater to learn is how to communicate their arguments and thoughts from their mind and translate them into a clear, concise, and fluent argument in a speech.  You can't learn to give a good speech at a faster rate unless you first learn to speak well.  This takes practice- give impromptu speeches, rebuttals, 1NCs, 2ACs, etc.  Improve your ability to speak fluently and get your arguments onto the floor.   For me, this took several months of practice, it is different for everyone.  Once you get your speaking skills down, you will see that you don't NEED to talk faster-  you can use those improved skills to group arguments, provide better analysis and clash, and give more convincing rebuttals.

 

Yes, some debaters talk really fast.  I don't spread, and focus more on giving a good speech at a slower pace (140-170 wpm), but with meaningful arguments, analysis, and clash.  Speed is not words per minute.  Speed is how many arguments the judge understands and is convinced of.  Model your speeches off of that concept of quality over quantity.  Signpost and organize your speech so the judge clearly understands what you are arguing and can flow the argument easily.

 

There are times when even if a team is talking faster than you, you can still outmaneuver them and use strategy to defeat them.  As a novice, many teams at first will not take advantage of the negative block or spend too much/too little time on certain arguments.  In addition, many novices also do not realize the benefit of giving analysis and weighing arguments (Even if they win x, y outweighs).  Practice these things and you will grow tremendously as a speaker.  Another underutilized part of debate is cross examination.  If you become a great cross-examiner, you will become a better speaker.  A good cross examination will break down the opposing arguments and give them less time for their own offensive arguments.

 

A tip which really helped me is to watch varsity rounds.  These are the debaters who are experienced speakers and know what their doing.  Watching one varsity debate during a bye or timekeeping a tournament will help you more than you think- take their strategies and learn how they speak and what arguments they make.

Edited by LionDebater
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Speed in rebuttals really comes 1) with time, 2) with understanding of arguments, and 3) with the ability to think more quickly on your feet. 

 

 

Extemp has seriously paid of so much for me when it comes to thinking fast and especially in thinking extemporaneously and being quick on my feet. If you go to any tournaments where you're able to do multiple events and can cross-enter in extemp and policy, I would strongly advise it.

Edited by CodyGustafson
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