how to start a debate

Participating in a debate is an excellent way to hone your communication and critical thinking skills. It’s also an excellent way to gain insight into another person’s perspective and potentially come to a new understanding of the issue at hand. But before you can have a successful debate, you must know how to start one. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the basics of starting a productive debate.

Scottish Parliament, Main Debating Chamber - how to start a debate
Scottish Parliament, Main Debating Chamber by Paul Buckingham is licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0

how to start a debate – Pick Your Topic Carefully

The topic you choose for your debate should be narrow enough that it can be discussed in depth, but broad enough that there is something substantial to debate about. Avoid topics that are too controversial or polarizing — these debates often devolve into arguments rather than productive conversations. You want to pick something that will allow you and your opponent (or opponents) to explore different viewpoints and come away with something meaningful at the end of it all.

Be Respectful

When beginning a debate, it’s important to show respect for those involved. Even if you disagree with them or don’t understand where they’re coming from, it’s important that your introduction sets the tone of respect rather than hostility or condescension. Acknowledge everyone who is part of the debate and thank them for their time and contributions beforehand.
Acknowledge Opposing Viewpoints

Know Your Opponent’s Position

Before jumping into a debate, it’s important that you know what position your opponent is taking on the issue. Knowing their stance will help you formulate your own argument as well as plan out counterarguments against theirs. If possible, research their past writing and speaking engagements on the subject so that you can better understand their point of view going into the debate.

start the debate by Introducing Your Position

Once you have acknowledged everyone involved and recognized potential alternative positions, it’s time to introduce your own stance on the matter at hand. It’s important not to be overly aggressive when introducing your opinion as this can set an unnecessarily combative atmosphere early on in the conversation which could make it difficult to move forward productively later on. Instead, clearly explain your position while remaining respectful of others’ opinions as well as open-minded about alternative points of view.

Start With Questions

Asking questions is an effective way to start any kind of discussion – including a debate. Ask open-ended questions like “How do you feel about X?” or “What do you think would happen if Y?” This helps draw out your opponent’s thoughts while also allowing them time think before responding – which can help prevent heated discourse from occurring right away. Plus, questions can help ease everyone into the discussion so that everyone feels more comfortable sharing their thoughts later on.

Starting a debate doesn’t have to be difficult or intimidating – it just requires some preparation and forethought about how best to approach the conversation at hand. By carefully selecting a topic, researching your opponent’s point of view prior to engaging in dialogue, and starting off with some open-ended questions, you’ll be well on your way towards having an effective and productive discussion with anyone! No matter what side of the argument you take, debating can help sharpen both sides’ ideas while bringing up new perspectives – making it an invaluable tool for learning and growth!

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