Video Lecture - Roles of Speakers - the Reply Speakers

Reply Speakers

I explain the role of the Reply speakers in this format. Reply speeches are shortened speeches (4 minutes long) made by either the first or second speaker at the end of the debate. There are 3 main responsibilities of this speech, to Summarize the Debate, to show your Team's Position and Case and Compare and Show why your Team's Position is better than the other team's.

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

Notes on This Lecture

Reply speeches speak once the debate is "over". This doesn't mean your speech is unimportant, it just means that technically you are not supposed to add new things to the debate. What your speech does is give the judges and audience a standard to measure success. Which team should win this debate and why? You can do this by

A) Summarize the debate – what is this debate about?

  • Be as objective as possible. What have been the major issues and questions in this debate? What are the most important impacts of this debate? Try to think like your judge.

B) Briefly summarize the position of your team and your competitor

  • Now that you've told everyone what the debate is about, how did you approach the debate and how did your opponent approach the debate? What did you set out to prove and what were your major arguments? You don't have a lot of time, so don't go through in great detail. Just outline the main approach and most important ideas.

C) Compare why your team's position and arguments are better. 

  • Now that you've told everyone what the debate is about and how each of you approached the debate, who did a better job? Who had more relevant arguments, engaged better, developed ideas better, proved their burden, did not contradict etc etc. Provide standards to measure success. Remember, you don't have to beat the other team 100% to win a debate, you don't have to prove that you are perfect. You just have to win 51% of the debate, you just have to be better than the other team. This means it's okay to concede that at some points the other team did better than you, but ensure you show you did better at all the important points.

Don't make new arguments, new rebuttals or present new examples, but analyze and balance the arguments and position of both teams. Explain why your team did a better job of debating, why your position and arguments better answers the most important questions in the debate.