Debate is an effective tool for raising awareness or to take on a prevalent social issue, peacefully and rationally to bring change or make progress, to which there are differing opinions and reactions. You could either join a traditional oral debate or an online one.
Debate is an activity that can help the debater acquire useful skills and improve those he/she already has. For a long time, debate has been the favourite part of curriculum in schools, colleges and universities. Even more, it has been an effective tool for raising awareness or to take on a prevalent social issue, peacefully and rationally to bring change or make progress, to which there are differing opinions and reactions. On an individual level, a debate informs both the debater and the audience on the topic on which the participants of the debate argue. The topics of debate could range vastly from science to morality, politics to literature, social issues to climate change, and so on. The debater, while preparing for the debate, researches and gathers a tremendous amount of information on the subject while the listeners also learn the same through the debater’s argument.
Additional individual gains are that debating, including its preparation, improves the debater’s logical thinking, critical thinking and his/her listening skill as well. While debating, communication skills, usage of language, articulation and many other skills are exercised and improved. With the advent of the Internet, it would be appropriate to say that debate has a new or an alternative form. Hence, there are two types of debates – the oral and the online debate.
The traditional form of debate involves delivering a speech in the presence of an opposing debater, an audience and usually a panel of judges who decide the winner. Oral debates are typically a one-time event, which means, audience and the judges assemble at a certain time and place. The debate takes place and concludes there itself.
Pros and Cons
Oral debate, as it obviously involves public speaking, renders the debater with a certain amount of pressure, which if handled poorly could ruin his/her argument. Moreover, there is the time factor within which the argument has to be delivered with the point clearly made in order to win the debate. However, at the same time, it also gives the debater a chance to overcome the fear and improve his/her skills in public speaking, eloquence of speech, time management, ability to convince through oration etc; these are some of the areas the debater can develop by taking part in oral debates.
* Face and master your fear of public speaking by knowing that it is completely unnecessary.
* Practice your speaking techniques to build up eloquence and eventually confidence.
* Plan the argument ahead but also be prepared for surprises, and when they come, keep your cool.
* Attract the audience’s attention but with authenticity and reason.
* Be precise and avoid stretching your speech to the point of redundancy.
* Despite your prior preparation, improvise as you speak.
People today are using websites and online forums as platforms for debate. Academic institutions are commonly seen holding online debates, although other groups and organisations are also seen doing it. Online debate requires no assemblage of audience or judges at a given time. It can go on for a longer time – days, weeks or even months. An online debate could also be open to the public where anyone can join the debate, neutralising the concept of audience.
Pros and Cons
Some who enjoy the live action and tension of oral debates might find online debates comparatively dull. With online debate there is no need to work on oratory skills, however, it also means that the same skill is not exercised and developed. The debater doesn’t get to face his/her fear of speaking in public, and there is no on-the-spot argument and negations to distract him/her. A public debate online allows every interested individual to join in and be a part of the debate, fulfilling the goal of increasing participation and raising more awareness.
As online debates typically go on for a long time, more participants can be expected. Online debates are easier to access; anyone with a computer and Internet connection can join a debate from anywhere and anytime. More than one person can argue simultaneously, as one only needs to type and submit his/her argument. Being online also means that the debater can access the web-wide information that can be used in favour of his/her argument.