How to Conduct Debates

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    • 1). Set transparent written guidelines in advance, allowing both parties to review the debate rules. Debaters can become belligerent if they feel the rules are unfair, so it's very important that both sides know what to expect.

    • 2). Test all sound equipment ahead of time and make sure each speaker's podium is visible from the crowd. A good moderator will not only conduct the debate itself without prejudice, he or she will set up the stage with fairness in mind, making sure one speaker is not at a technical disadvantage.

    • 3). Recruit a separate individual for timing, as recommended by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) American Collection Educator's website, with the timekeeper signaling the moderator rather than directly addressing individual debaters.

    • 4). Conduct the debate with general politeness and decency in mind. While speaking order, sound equipment and other technical items are important, above all else debaters need to be cordial, addressing only opposing ideas and never insulting the individual.

    • 5). Conduct the debate at an appropriate venue. In order for a debate to be successful, the debaters should project their viewpoints to a wider audience. The International Debate Education Association states that "public debates should be carried out in a spirit of dedication to the public good," with such public good only being possible when the public audience is directly affected by and involved in the issue at hand.

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