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February 13, 2013 / compassioninpolitics

How can you bounce back from making a mistake in a debate

As someone who has coached debate relatively successfully at a number of universities you have about 6 key options:

1. Mea Culpa. I made a mistake (this should probably be your first line of attack, assuming it was an accident). You can explain why it might be un-representative or poor proof for what they are trying to make. (interesting but irrelevant)

2. Minimize the error in the overall argument (explain with example if necessary). It ignores the larger issue of X. It entirely misses the point.

3. Prioritize something you are winning. Often by connect it to the higher value.

4. Contextualize (take a more global view). Otherwise, re-framing the issue can be helpful with analogy or metaphor.

5. Even-if I lose this….I can still win because…..

6. Alternatively “My opponents error here is a far bigger deal that X error you think I might have made.”


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