Reply to the mentee on debate speech writing


Dear Alex,


I’ve just read over your speech, and I must admit, it’s very well written for a first -time debater. Good job! You ‘ve the potential to be a wonderful debater, so keep up the hard work.


There’re some parts that I really like in your speech. The first one is that you’re able to introduce both the motion and the team line well. It gives people a more warm and welcoming feeling towards your side when they’re able to know a bit about you guys. And that’s good, because you don’t simply get marks for the content on your speech, you also gain marks for giving a good impression to the adjudicators.


Another thing I really, really like is how you introduced your stance and argument. It’s exceptionally eye-catching for you to use questions like “What is the purpose of maternity leave?” to guide people into the topic. By doing so, you’re also guiding the audience to follow your way of thought, which can make your arguments a lot more convincing as they ‘d understand the logic flow better. It also shows the adjudicator that you know what your motion is about, and that you’ve a good understanding of it too.


There’re some areas that can be improved, though. Don’t worry. No one can ever write perfect speeches. Even experienced debaters have to get others to read their speeches over and over for improvement.


The first thing is that as the first speaker of the Affirmative team, you have to provide some definitions of the key terms in the motion, like ‘paternity leave’. This avoids confusion of definitions with the Negative team, and allows the debate to run more smoothly. This also adds to you organizational marks and content marks, so remember it well.


Another thing is that the overall organization can be made slightly better. So instead of simply introducing the second and third speakers by mentioning who they are, you should also introduce the arguments they ‘ll be discussing in their speeches. This is the “split”, which you’ve probably heard of before. It allows the audience to understand the flow of your team more easily, as they’ll have a general idea of what each speaker will tell the in the course of the debate. You should also write a short conclusion at the end of your speech to reiterate your view and logic flow again. This makes the structure of your speech more “well-packaged”. Adjudicators love an organized speech, because sometimes it’s hard to follow a person’s line of thought properly if everything is all over the place.


Also, I’d recommend your team to expand the scope of the arguments. The argument you currently have is good – using the purpose of maternity leave to prove the right of fathers to have paternity leave is absolutely fine. Yet, I think it may be a bit narrow for a motion like this. I think that you can expand it to how letting fathers have the same amount of paternity leave can benefit family or father-and-child relationships, and how it can help solve some social issues like ineffective communication between parents and their children, or even how workers’ productivity could be improved if companies allowed workers to enjoy the same amount of paternity leave and maternity leave. By expanding the scope of the arguments, you’ll be able to make your case a lot more effective and efficient in convincing the audience. You can also quote examples of paternity leave in other countries like Canada, and show the benefits it has on their country. Examples help consolidate your case, and show that what you say is not only good in theory but also in reality.


I hope my suggestions have been helpful towards the debate, and I wish you all the best. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, I’m always willing to give a hand to fellow debaters, especially you, my talented mentee.


Best wishes,