The words “debate” and “battle” stem from the same root, so you might expect to use similar tactics in each. However, if you use battle tactics in a debate, you’re likely to lose. In a battle, two parties are involved – you and the enemy. A debate involves a third party as well — the audience. In a battle, you’re trying to defeat the enemy. Debate tactics are quite different. In a debate, you’re trying to use your speaking skills to win to over the audience. The different objectives may call for very different tactics. Above all, you must know your audience to win a debate. That’s even more important than knowing the competition. Check out the video.
When you sit around the dinner table talking with friends, you use many social conventions to tell stories, ask questions, create interest, and hold each other’s attention. You can use many of these same techniques and verbal skills to hold an audience’s attention when you give a presentation. If you sense that you’re losing the audience’s attention, there are two magic words that will them back to you. Learn the techniques — and the magic words — in this video.
After you use your communication skills to establish that you’re trustworthy and deliver the logic of your argument, it’s time to touch on the emotions of your audience. You can do this by the way you behave — your enthusiasm and tone of voice can convey your emotions. You should also touch on the audience’s emotions by answering a simple question: why is this good for you? Learn more in the video.
After you’ve established your credibility and built a foundation of trust during your speaking presentation, it’s time to move on to the logic of your argument. If you share a core belief with your audience (known as a commonplace or a shared belief), you can start with it and proceed from the general belief to the specific conclusion. This is deductive logic and most logicians consider it the most powerful argumentative form. If you don’t have a shared belief with the audience, however, you’ll need to start with specific cases and proceed to a general conclusion. This is inductive logic. With deductive logic, you start with a shared belief. With inductive logic, you end with a shared belief. Learn more in the video.
Your first task in delivering a persuasive presentation is to establish your credibility and show the audience that they can trust you. The Greeks called it “ethos” — it has to do with your character and your degree of fit with the audience. The audience will ask several questions of you. Does she respect us? Does she use our time wisely? Does she know what she’s talking about? Is she an egghead or does she have the practical wisdom to recommend a practical course of action? Does she share our values? These are all subliminal questions but your actions during the first five minutes of a speaking presentation will answer most of them. Find out more in the video.