Video Lecture - Roles of Speakers - the Reply Speakers

Transcript - Video Lecture on the Reply Speakers

Hello! So we've talked about the first six speeches of the Asian Parliamentary format, the 3 speeches on the Government team and the 3 speeches on the Opposition team. Now we've come almost to the end of the debate. The opposition whip speaker has sat down, (and) it's time for the reply speeches. 

The reply speeches as I've told you before, is 4 minutes in length and there will be no Points of Information. During the previous 6 speeches, while speakers are presenting the definition or making arguments or rebuttals, other speakers can stand up and offer a point. "Can I ask a question", "On that point",- they may say those things or make those funny gestures to get attention and speakers (the person who is currently speaking) can choose to reject or accept them. In the reply speech there is none of this. You get absolute peace and control over your speech.

So what should you do in the 4 minutes which you have to make your reply speech? You should do essentially 3 things. One - you need to summarize the debate. Two - you need to show your team's position and your case and thirdly, you need to compare (and show) why your position is better than the other team's. Why your case is better than the other team. Why you should win this debate. 

Before I talk about those things, it's helpful to think of the reply speech as a form of biased adjudication. The debate has ended and you are here giving a kind of review of the debate. "This has happened, we did this and they did this and now why do we win". Why were we the better team in this game, and how did we play this game better or how they didn't play this game better (than us). What they have not done or still have not done and what we have done and why we are better. It's kind of like a review after a game or a performance. The commentators get up and give up and give a review. (They might say) "oh I think this team did really well and they should win or she should be the best idol because of this and because of that". That's what you are doing. Now obviously you are a member of your team, so you are going to be a little bit biased. If you are the opposition reply speaker, you are not going to say I think the government team is going to win this debate. Don't do that! You are going to say "I think our team wins this debate!", but you are going to try to present that in an objective way, because that is persuasive. 

Let's look at the 3 things you should do in your speech in order to best present this biased adjudication. Firstly, briefly summarize the debate. Not your team, but the debate as a whole. What was this debate about? What are some of the important issues in this debate? What happened in this debate? It's important here to be as objective as possible. You should try to cover things which maybe even your team wasn't doing so well at, because if your summary is too biased,then the judges won't buy the rest of your analysis. they wont believe the rest of your analysis. so what was this debate about? this debate was about the balance between the right of smokers and non smokers. this debate was about what is the role of the university - is the university a place for education only, or is it also a place for transition, for change into society. so those are the two most important issues in this debate, perhaps. 

Now after you've done that, present your teams position and your case. so these are the issues in the debate, now what we do and what did we present? What were our arguments and how did we argue them? Try to be brief, because what you are showing here is you are trying to show why your arguments and your case is relevant (to the main issues of the debate), is good, is strong. So this is what the debate is about, these are our arguments, our arguments are relevant to what this debate is about. 

The third thing you should do is compare your position and their position. This means you may have to briefly summarize the other team's position and then compare them. That's the most important part. Saying what you've done and saying what they've done doesn't really win you a debate, and that isn't really debating. What debating is about is comparing, not just stating things. So "we made these arguments, and they made those arguments - why are our arguments better than their arguments. Why are our examples better. Why is out position better. Why are our approaches or anylsis better, which ones do we win". 

Now you don't have to show that you win all the arguments and every position and this is 100% destruction of the other team. no no no, that's not what debating is about. It's about objective comparison. So you can say, "I think we did really well here, the other team did really well here, we will give them credit, we think that was a good point and that was made well and we really don't have answer for this part, BUT we think we still did better (in this debate) because that one point which they did well at is not the the most important point of the debate. This point is more important than that point in the end. Furthermore we did this thing and that thing and this thing an this other thing, much much better than them!" 

So it's really important at this point to be comparative. Compare your team against their team. You want to give the judge a standard with which to decide which team should win this debate. 

So to recap, tell the judges and the audience what this debate is about. This debate is about this issue, it's about that issue. Present and summarize your case and your positon. Show how you were relevant to the debate. Thirdly compare the teams, tell the judges why you did better to solve the problems and the issue, or responded better to the issue. Give them a standard to decide which team should win the debate. In debates that are very very close, reply speeches can make a huge difference. You have to think tactically, but believe your team has won the debate. 

Good luck!