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September 24, 2015 / compassioninpolitics

Accumulated Wisdom and Practical Advice from a Northwestern Lab

  1. To extend an argument, use the following formula:

  • Summarize the argument

  • Warrant

  • Implication for debate

  • More evidence

  1. Don’t criticize your partner post-speech
  2. Treat the judge as a skeptic who does not believe what you say. You must convince the judge that your argument is correct rather than simply assert it.
  3. Constructives are different than rebuttals. In the constructives, focus on argument expansion and develop. In the rebuttals, focus on argument choice and comparison.
  4. Prior preparation prevents poor performance
  5. Only look at speech doc when appropriate and in moderation (speech doc = back-up)
  6. Make the files your own. Highlight them, tinker with the tags, etc.
  7. Be ready to start at the start time. Have your computer already on, plugged in, with the programs open, and ready to go.
  8. There is no pre- or post-CX. Housekeeping questions count as CX time.
  9. Link or solvency presses are more valuable than impact defense
  10. Impact calc tips from the tournament/Arjun
    1. Talk about your impacts first and have a coherent structure to your impact calc
    2. Texture—why does why war happen? What does the war look like?
    3. Refute the other team’s impact in addition to doing comparison
    4. Evidence reference/comparison


**The Condominium of Practical Advice is a collection of student-produced tips, compiled from the feedback they receive from their practice debates. The idea is that after each debate, each debater shares a tip that they think would also be helpful for others.**

1. Pause in between pieces of paper/flows

2. Avoid jargon when using impact calculus

3. Don’t put your laptop in front of your face (have a direct line of sight to the judge)

4. Write CX questions during the previous speech

5. Start a speech slowly and increase your speed (50-60% speed)

6. Contradict, don’t deny

7. Fill your speech time

8. Make the maximum use of the evidence you’ve already read

9. CX of the 1AC should set up negative positions

10. Don’t use your partner’s flow during your speech

11. Reading cards in a rebuttal is ok when needed

12. Stand up during cross-ex

13. CX should be used for arguments and not housekeeping

14. 2NR has four strategies

  1. DA and case

  2. K and case

  3. CP and DA

  4. Procedural

15. Know when to back off CX when you’re not getting the answer you want

16. Know when to have a rebuttal question in CX

17. Label off-case positions

18. Always refer to arguments:

  • On case, by the 1NC numbers (and paraphrase)

  • Off case, by the 2AC numbers (and paraphrase)

19. The last argument in the 2AC order should be the least threatening one

20. Don’t be monotone and emphasize certain key words

21. Don’t overburden the overview

22. Answer arguments in the order they were they were given (NOT THE ORDER THEY WERE IN THE SPEECH DOCUMENT)

23. Don’t overuse accusations of concession

24. No overviews in the 1AR

25. Extend arguments by argument, then cite

26. Make K link arguments specific to the aff

27. Write down CX questions only when there’s time

28. The 2NR should preempt 2AR arguments specifically

29. No open-ended questions in CX

30. Stand still when speaking and in CX

31. Do turns case analysis/impact calc related to every 1AC impact

32. Know your judge before the debate (read their judge philosophy, perhaps with a grain of salt)

33. When positions are kicked, they don’t disappear/there can still be important arguments to address

34. Time allocation/coverage should depend on what’s most threatening/winning your offense

35. In CX, don’t ask “where in your evidence does it say X?”

36. Slow down on analytics

37. Explain your interpretation to T in every speech

38. Make the 1NC have multiple 2NR options

39. Still answer the FULL version of an incomplete advantage/neg position

40. Overviews should make distinctions, not just summarize – if they drop the overview, they should lose

41. 1AC should be prepared

42. Start with offense in the 2AR (WWWWWWWWW)

43. If you are sick, stop the debate

44. Have a timer and start it

45. Don’t say “sorry” when you think you’ve made a mistake (unless you’ve actually done something wrong)

46. Don’t read arguments you’re not prepared to go for

47. Start out strong in the 2NR/2AR

48. Be ready to go for CX immediately when the speech starts

49. Diversify 2AC arguments

50. Prioritize 2AC arguments

51. Capitalize on under-coverage

52. Check your speech doc before you send it out

  • Ev pasting errors

  • Counterplan text checks (2 people at least)

  • Add the numbers on the case frontlines in the 1NC

53. You must choose in all speeches

54. Always permute counterplans and kritik alternatives

55. Always have framing issues at the top of the speech (tell the judge how to evaluate the debate)

56. 1AR needs to set up or assist the 2AR’s offense

57. Don’t swear unless it’s necessary for your argument/situationally

58. Transition between arguments at a steady pace

59. Discuss arguments, then evidence, in CX

60. Identify and eliminate your crutch words (“uh,” “um,” etc.)

61. The 1N should be aware of what’s happening at the end of the 2NC

62. Identify your opponents’ strongest arguments before the 2NR/2AR and devote enough time to answering them

63. Don’t exaggerate the quality of your evidence.

64. Face the judge even when not speaking
65. Connect link arguments to permutations
66. Answer permutations distinctly (no grouping!)
67. Minimize interruptions – only do it if it’s an emergency
68. Keep your hands still and gestures reasonable
69. Focus 1AR cards where you are weaker/they are stronger
70. Start 1AR prep as soon as backflowing is done
71. Be aware of of your surroundings (acoustics, etc.)
72. If you’re not reading a card, don’t make it sound like you’re reading a card (bump your enunciation/emphasis/clarity)
73. You must know and react to how much time your opponents spent on each arg
74. When going for T, describe what the topic looks like (and why that’s good)
75. If answering a specific thing on a piece of paper, direct the judge to that argument
76. 2AC should always make theory arguments
77. To increase pressure on the 2AC, make analytic arguments on the case
78. Make arguments that aren’t in the speech doc
79. All 1AC arguments should be equally developed
80. 1AC pauses don’t have to be “next” or “and” or “um”
81. 2AR needs structure based on the offense you are going for (not just line-by-line response to 2NR)
82. 2AR should choose between the perm or solvency deficit to spend a lot of time on (don’t let yourself be “divided and conquered”)
83. The block should most often have more than one 2NR option
84. Improve our files where they are weak – files EVOLVE
85. If evidence doesn’t perfectly apply, MAKE YOUR OWN ARGS
86. Speak in complete sentences (write blocks in that manner too)
87. Plan your time allocation before every speech
88. Answer the substance of theory violations (not just “reject the argument, not the team”)
89. If there is a topical version of the aff, say what it is to answer their standards
90. Try to have an impact that the other team cannot access
91. For links, quality over quantity
92. Give advantages substantive titles
93. Focus CX questions on threatening arguments
94. Make sure you have the correct CP text (and speech document)
95. To kick something, you must concede an argument the other team has actually made
96. Dont use meaningless transition phrases in between CX questions
97. When there is a contradiction, concede the part that gets rid of the other team’s stronger argument
98. Have extra cards ready for when you have speech time left
99. Be sure case turns correctly apply to the aff’s internal links
100. Physically mark your cards in addition to verbally saying it
101. Do block handoffs before 2NC CX
102. Do line-by-line on theory instead of just reading blocks
103. Be proportionate when answering theory – in general, < 30 seconds
104. Use examples whenever possible
105. Don’t ask “why hasn’t the impact happened yet?”
106. Answer counterplans and net benefits together (e.g. make sure the CP doesn’t solve your link turns, and be conscious of impact calculus on advantages without a solvency deficit)
107. Explain the relationship between impacts in the rebuttals (especially if going for more than one impact)
108. Cross-apply previous answers if they apply (don’t repeat them)
109. End with a bang, not a whimper
110. Framework alone is not an answer to a K
111. Talk about earlier-read evidence in the 2NR/2AR, including quotes when appropriate
112. Don’t just dump all of your standards on T in the overview
113. Make solvency and link arguments against affs with a lot of impacts (don’t just chase down all the impacts)
114. Have a way of dealing with try-or-die framing against counterplans (NOT impact defense)
115. 2NR/2AR must describe or narrate what transpired in the debate
116. Take prep before speeches to assess the debate as a whole to examine interactions between arguments on different pages
117. Don’t forget add-ons when doing impact calculus
118. Read add-ons!
119. Be ready to email speech when you stand up
120. Be sure to read terminal impacts to your new impact modules
121. Never assume the file is complete/rational
122. Be cognizant of prep time – plan for the whole debate
123. Make sure framework arguments have traction – explain why it means you win
124. Don’t clump all analytics together
125. No new 2AC case cards unless necessary
126. Have impacts to independent links
127. Go for the strategy you’re winning in the 2N
128. Be sure to have offense on each negative position in the 2ac
129. Finish your sentence when the timer goes off – don’t stop immediately.
130. Focus more on efficiency than big-picture in the 1ar
131. Still say conditionality is bad in the 2ac, even if they only read one cp
132. Be careful not to read new arguments when extending a dropped DA/argument in the block.
133. Plan the 2ar strategy when you write 2ac blocks – and construct them accordingly
134. In CX, if your question is pointed and direct, don’t set it up with an open-ended question
135. Don’t ask CX questions about the 1ac in the 2ac cx
136. Don’t poop out in CX / stay energized the whole time
137. 1nr should send the speech doc as soon as the 2nc CX ends
138. Compare evidence as much as possible
139. Don’t get distracted by the other team’s theatrics
140. If you can’t win a no link argument / perm / link turn on a K, you probably need to impact turn
141. On politics, relate uniqueness arguments (thumpers! included) to the president
142. The block must “inflate” the 1nc case arguments – more warrants, more evidence, etc.
143. Make CX trees
144. Scrutinize cp texts and cards until you know what the counterplan does – don’t believe the 1nc labels
145. Keep your flows on the stand/podium, don’t keep them in your hands
146. impact calculus matters on topicality too – standards
147. the first sentence of final rebuttals must articulate why you win the debate
148. Be sure to answer independent T bombs in the 2ac – extra T, effects T, etc.
149. Don’t editorialize in CX when you are the questioner – you can only ask questions.
150. treat the 1nr like a constructive – read many cards!
151. define the important concepts for your Ks – read a thesis card
152. deploy the aff code for the whole debate – keep vocabulary consistent
153. don’t repeat impact analysis if it was dropped
154. don’t chew gum while attempting to communicate
155. if you drop something in the block, try to justify new answers in the 2nr

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