Wednesday, May 2, 2007

the manner AND the matter in debate

One cannot possibly separate one from the other without screwing the overall skill of a debater. He either has both or he doesn't. Judging from the way modern-day debaters are trained in the "latest" method of debate, I can easily see that much has been taken for granted. While it is true that the open display of stock knowledge in almost flawless rhetorics can put any traditional debaters to shame, but the manner by which these beautiful or erudite lines are delivered leaves many unsatisfied and confused.

What, exactly, is good debating? Is it just a mere show of knowledge, facts and stored information delivered in lightning speed because you have so much to say within only 7 minutes? In debates watched by a big audience, this kind of speaking is a no-no. Public speaking, as in debating for a big audience, requires proper pacing of phrases, appropriate gestures, and a lot of audience contact. No matter how well-researched or well-informed a debater is, but if he or she delivers her speech faster than the speed of light, looks everywhere except the audience, rocks and sways, uses only one hand to gesture, and whose voice lacks enthusiasm or power, then he better consider retiring from this activity.

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