Deputy Speakers

I explain the role of the Deputy Speakers in this format. These are the speakers who speak second in both teams, and I talk about them together since their roles are very similar. There are 3 main responsibilities, to Defend their Case, to Attack the Case on the Other Side and to Make 1 or 2 new arguments.

Read a transcript of this Video
Questions and Answers on the Role of the Deputy Speakers
Activities in Class or Training Exercises
Example of this Role

Notes on this Lecture

The Deputy Speakers enter the debate in the middle. They speak after the first speakers and before the 3rd speakers. They play an important role in maintaining the control and shaping the eventual clash points of the debate. To best achieve this, they should

A) Defend your case and position against the attacks of the other team

  • The speaker on the other side has just rebutted your teammate - you need to defend his or her arguments because that is your case. If the speaker DOESN'T rebut your teammate, draw attention their failure and re-emphasize why your team's points are important.

B) Attack the other team's position, case and arguments

  • Rebut, similar to what the leader of opposition did towards the prime minister.

C) Make 1 or 2 Arguments

Question and Answers - the Deputy Speakers

1. Can I change the definition, the position or the policy of the PM or the LO?

- No you can't. Changing the policy means you will contradict your PM or LO and reduce the value of his or her speech. You can clarify and explain, but any additions that makes your teammate look like they didn't do their job well will hurt your team.

2. Do i have to do defense first then rebuttals, then new arguments?

- No, as long as you do all three. If you think it's better, you can present your arguments first, then rebut and then defend your teammate.

3. How much of time should I spend Defending, Rebutting and Developing new arguments? Which is the most important part of my job??

- This is a difficult question and there is no objective answer. It really depends on the debate. Some debates may require you to spend more time defending your first speaker (if for example the attack from the other side was particularly strong) or if the other speaker spent more time building his own case and not really attacking yours, then there is more attacking to do than defending. So ask yourself what you need to do the most in this debate, but ensure you do a little bit of everything. The most common error deputy speakers make with time management is spending too much time rebutting, forgetting to do any defense and emphasis of their case and not leaving enough time to develop new arguments. If you must cut down on something, cut rebuttals. You have a third speaker who add rebuttals, but it's harder for the third speaker to clarify and defend the first speaker, and the third speaker shouldn't be developing new arguments.

Transcript - Video Lecture on the Deputy Speakers

Ready? Good! Let's begin!

Now we are going to talk about the second speakers in each team. We are going to talk about both of them together because their roles are very very similar. On the government team the second speaker is the Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and in the opposition team the second speaker is the Deputy Lead of Opposition (DLO). At this point in the debate, one of your teammates have already spoken and what they have said has been rebutted by one speaker, if you are the DPM. If you are the DLO, two speakers on the other side have already spoken. So at this points arguments have been made, and rebuttals have been made towards each other. So lets look at what your responsibilities and role will be as the deputy speakers position.

Deputy speakers essentially have 3 things that they must do. You must defend your case, you must attack the case on the other side, and then you must present new arguments. Let's look at those things in turn. 

Firstly defending your case. The situation is your teammate has already presented arguments. If you're in the government (team) the PM has presented your position, the case and the setup, and the leader of opposition has attacked those arguments. He's presented rebuttals and said these arguments wrong and there's a problem with this argument. So if I am coming up in second, my first priority must be to defend my teammate. (It must be) to defend the integrity and the strength of my team and my speaker. The first thing I need to do is defend. Identify the points of my speaker which have been attacked and tell you why those things are not true and why they are necessary and (then) I need to rebuild them.[More in the Question & Answer section]

Once I'm done with that, I need to respond to what the first speaker on the (other) side has (said), or if I'm in the opposition team I need to respond to what the second speaker on the other side has said. Maybe I can briefly summarize the previous speaker, (for example) "she said two things and I'm going to respond to those things. This is why this is wrong and this is why that is wrong". The rebuttals are similar to the rebuttals the LO makes to the PM. The DPM must rebut the LO and the DLO must rebut the DPM. The DLO can also continue rebuttals against the PM. Your rebuttals are not limited to just the speaker who spoke before you but you can rebut the entire team. 

So I've defended my team, I've rebutted their team, the third thing I must do, is present new arguments. Arguments that are different from the arguments my teammate has already presented in the debate. This is important, (because) doing this means the debate grows. This adds new information and new argumentation that supports the case. I must connect these arguments to our position and tell you why those arguments are strong and why it makes our case even stronger.

That's the deputy speakers. You sit in the middle of the team, so your job is; you need to defend your teammate - my teammate said some important things, and I'm telling you why those things are still important. Then I need to respond to the other team - this is what you said, and this is why what you said is wrong! And then I need to present my own arguments.

Both the DPM on the Government and the DLO on the Opposition will do these three things. Good luck at being an awesome Deputy Speaker!