— Clarification of interpretation of motion, definition, framing, model, etc.
— Rebutting claims brought forth by the other team
— Reconstructing your first speaker’s arguments if they have been rebutted
— Extending the case of your side by making a new argument
As the last constructive speaker for your side, it is crucial that you make any final clarifications for ambiguities that might remain in the foundation of your team’s case or the debate as a whole. This will ensure that the judges are completely clear on what it is that your side is arguing for and prevent the other team from misconstruing the debate. These ambiguities could be the model, the definition of certain terms in the motion, the metric on which the debate should be judged, etc.
There are 3 important things to keep in mind during this section of your speech.
Firstly, you should make clarifications that benefit your team’s position in the context of the debate. Making clarifications that are tangential to the main clash in the debate is not useful.
Secondly, you should justify and give reasons as to why your specific interpretation of the debate is the most reasonable way to debate the motion.
Thirdly, it is important to explicitly flag what the importance of the clarification you are making is, in terms of the effect on arguments in the debate. This will help judges contextualize the relevance of the clarification you are making within the context of the debate that has occurred thus far.
Clarifications should generally take at most 1 minute.
Directly responding to the material presented by the other team is a crucial aspect of demonstrating engagement, particularly as a second speaker.
There are 3 ways of rebutting an argument:
(a) Directly disproving a premise or assumption that the argument relies on
(b) Illustrating why the impact of the argument is marginal (mitigation) or why the argument might be irrelevant in the context of the debate and the metric on which it should be judged, even if it is true
(c) Outweighing the argument by illustrating that the impacts proven by arguments on your side are greater than the impacts of the opposition’s argument, even if it is true
Giving multiple responses to each argument using these methods further strengthens your refutation, as it hedges your bets against a judge that might not credit one or more of your responses.
The rebuttal section of your speech should generally take 2-3 minutes.
Reconstruction broadly consists of responding to the rebuttals given by the opposition speakers to the arguments brought forward by your 1st speaker. The methodology outlined in the rebuttal section can be applied here. Additionally, it is your job to add mechanisms, impacts, and illustration to the arguments that have already been presented to strengthen them.
As much as responding to opposition rebuttals is important, so is pointing out the lack of opposition rebuttals. Make sure to flag to the judges if the opposition has not engaged with certain arguments from your 1st speaker’s speech and strengthen those arguments in particular to maximize their potency in helping you win the round.
The reconstruction section of your speech should generally take 2-3 minutes.
An important part of furthering the case for your side is extending the substantive matter and presenting a new argument.
Make sure to plan carefully in prep-time which arguments will be presented by the first speaker and which argument will be reserved for the extension. The strongest and most important arguments should be presented in the first speech for your side.
However, it is important not to undersell your extension. Presenting a tangential minor argument that does not clash with the heart of the debate is not a good strategy. Make sure to explain why the extension is a substantial contribution to the debate and merits a response from the opposition.
At the same time, if you feel that there are no strong extension arguments, it may be more worthwhile to dedicate this time towards further refutation, impacting of your 1st speaker’s arguments, and weighing against the arguments brought by the opposition. Make sure to be versatile and adaptable in your approach to tailor it to the debate that is taking place.