Time allocation and sign posting
Im going to do two articles in one, because the both things, that I’m going to write about, talk about what you should do in your speech.
A good time allocation means that you will do all of the roles, that you need to fulfill within your speech. Being the first government speaker means, that you have to present a problem, a solution, a model and arguments. If you plan your speech good, you will use around four minutes for your arguments, and the other time will be used to present the problem/solution/plan, and a half minute closing of your speech.
The time allocation gets more interesting when you need to do more in your speech. First opp speaker has to present his own arguments and negate what the first speaker has presented. For the first opp speaker, it is more important to present their own arguments than to negate. That means, that in a seven-minute speech you will use up to four minutes for presenting your own arguments and the other time will be used for negation and for other things that you do in your speech (introduction, closing).
The same goes for the next two speakers. You need to think about your time allocation before you start your speech. You need to know at what moment you would like to be where. Plan, that you need to be at the start of the second argument at 4,5 minutes, and if you are not, you need to finish whatever you are doing and go to the next argument. Time allocation gets more interesting on the second table.
The third government speaker has a lot to do, because presenting an extension will take a lot of time for her speech, and he also needs to take time to go through the first tables and make some more rebuttal of the previous opp speaker. The best way to do it is that you start with your most important stuff, in this case, you need to start with your extension. After you finish, you will have time to do the rebuttal. You can decide to do it the opposite way, but it happens often, that people get just too much involved in negation, and with that, they do not present the extension clear enough, and this will cost you good placement in the debate.
The most important thing, that you need to do is the extension, and if you waste time on the other things, that are not that important, you will show, that its not you, who makes the decisions on the speaker floor, its the speech, that takes you, where it wants and that is not a good sign. As Im just at the extension speaker of the government, this is a good place to explain the sign posting idea.
Sign posting means, that you should always explain to the judge, what you will do in your speech. You need to do it at least three times. In your introduction, you have to tell the judge, how your speech is going to look like. That does not mean, that you need to come up and start “Ladies and gentleman, I am the third speaker of the government and my role in the debate is to negate what was already said in the debate and to present an extension”.
Most judges have a good idea about what your role in the debate is, so don’t repeat that, because you will bore the judge, and you don’t want to do that in the first sentence that you make. What you need to do is that you, while making your introduction tell the judge what your arguments will be about.
It is easier for the judges to follow, and it is fair to the opposite teams, so that have an idea, what you will speak about up front. In your speech, you should always tell, when you from one argument to the other, when you go from the negation to your own substantive material, when you go to your extension.
Most of the judges wait for you to do your job, so they will react on you saying to them, what you are doing. So this is the second sign posting,that you need to do. The third sign posting that you need to do is at the end of your speech. You should sum up, what you have said in the debate. Do not repeat it too much, just go through the one most important thing for each argument.
To make the sign posting clear in one sentence: You need to tell, what you are going to do, than do it and tell what you are doing, and at the end you need to tell, what you have done in your speech. If you follow the ideas presented in this article, you will have a better structure, you will do your job as a speaker and the judges will follow what you speak about and it won’t happen, that you think you said something, but the judge just won’t get it. Comments to this article are welcome!
Hey, my name is Peter and I’m the author of this website and all the content on this page. I have been a debater, a debate trainer, debate tournament organizer and everything else with a debate prefix for more than 10 years and I’ve seen it all. I want to help everyone to be a better debater and if you want to help too, please let me know. Keep on debating!
2 thoughts on “Time allocation and sign posting”
so idk if you actually read this but hi my name is HARRIETT and i’m a new debater this year. i started fairly late compared to other debaters but so far i’ve really enjoyed it and i’m keen on IMPROVING myself and maybe getting something out of it, like participating in tournaments. Do you have any tips on how to improve and anything to set apart a good speech from a bad one? Thanks 🙂
Also really useful post!