To believe we can be an island onto ourselves and not get embroiled in some sort of controversial issue, is to believe in the Tooth Fairy, nice concept, isn't reality.
Acknowledging, reluctantly or not, we can not avoid some controversy no matter how hard we try, we need to know how best to handle the situation when pressed to speak on the issue.
Whether you are a keynote speaker, rebuttal speaker or just a speaker acknowledged by the Chair, there are certain issues we must beware of in order to become a powerful voice in the debate, and by powerful, I don't mean loud.
Obviously, the subject, whatever it is, has created an emotional response in people, as people don't get involved in controversy unless they have strong convictions or emotions about the matter.
When dealing with emotions beware that with over zealous emotions comes the tendency to throw logic out the window.
Positions which appeared logical, although in opposition of the person, prior to meeting, are now fighting words which could illicit irrational responses.
Awareness is the key to successfully breaching the emotional barrier, but we must also remember to monitor our own emotional level to prevent words which would only inflame the situation.
There's nothing worse than reflecting on the situation and realizing you could have dealt a death blow to the opposition had you not lost control of your own emotions and train of thought at that particular moment.
There are certain methods to utilize when discussing a controversial subject which have the appearance of being less confrontational, which is an emotion we want desperately to avoid, unless our idea is to sabotage any logical discussion or resolution.
One such method is to view this controversy as a negotiation, with the ultimate goal being arriving at the best win - win situation possible, instead of a win - lose situation.
In order to accomplish this we utilize the method of asking and answering of questions.
For instance, let's assume the controversial matter is the High School offering free condoms to students, and you support the decision.
Initially, do not make your position known, but rather ask a hypothetical question, such as "There were 14,000 abortions in this city alone last year.
I have a feeling God is crying over that fact.
" Then switch to the other side of the argument such as "The idea that government and lawyers and whatever know more about how to raise my kid than I do, is BS!" You have touched on both sides of the argument captivating the entire audiences' attention, at least temporarily, which may be all the time you require to drive home your point.