I once watched a friend begin a speech with a pretty exact recreation of Stephen Colbert's nuclear explosion act
. (I believe he won.)
IMHO, the most effective openers simultaneously reframe the debate from a different perspective and provide a concise roadmap for the rest of the speech. One good way to do this is to think: what is the core difference of opinion that makes me favor my position instead of their position? Then: how can I phrase this as a question
or an observation
that provokes curiosity
"Did you notice that, in their last speech, our opponents suggested a number of possible hazards, but never gave any concrete examples of these hazards happening in the real world? So, do
they happen? I'll talk about that in this speech, and finish with some further evidence that our plan works."
"Aristotle once said, 'The only stable state is the one in which all men are equal before the law.' In this speech I would like to demonstrate how my opponents' interpretation creates an unequal situation, by examining three hypothetical scenarios."
etc. If you can do this on the fly in-round, awesome; but it's often beneficial to explicitly brainstorm openers in advance, particularly for your Aff case (where you have a decent sense of how most rounds will go).
For closers, I am of the opinion that the ubiquitous "For all these reasons..." is very nearly a complete waste of time. It just conveys no information whatsoever. Some people try to improve this by briefly listing what the "reasons" are
, but this usually just ends up as a hurried recap that adds little the speech. The closer should crystallize, not just repeat. Returning to the central theme you mentioned in your opener is a good approach:
"In conclusion, these examples demonstrate that the Negative team's objections to our plan don't actually bear out in reality, and that our plan is proven to work. Therefore, we ask you to vote Affirmative. Thank you."
"In conclusion, I believe that the Affirmative's interpretation creates a system much like what Aristotle described -- a fundamentally unstable state -- and thus, I ask you to vote Negative. Thank you."
Another good approach is to give the judge a "voting question" to ask themselves:
"In conclusion, you can ask yourself this question: has the Negative proven that their complaints actually happen in the real world? If the answer to that question is 'no,' we ask you to vote Affirmative."
"In conclusion, ask yourself: does this interpretation make people less equal before the law? If yes, then I ask you to vote Negative."
This suggests a weighing mechanism (that may benefit you) and validates the judge's sense of agency. (Make sure the "voting question" is actually reasonable, though, and don't ask a completely different question every speech -- that can get confusing.)
_________________Abe bimuí bithúo dousí abe
- "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free"COG 2016 generics-only sourcebook
- NCFCA/Stoa (thread)Factsmith research software
- v1.5 currently available (thread)Loose Nukes debate blog
- stuff to read with your eyes.