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5 Captivating Ways to Begin a Debate

A debate is a formal argument in which two individuals or teams present their opposing viewpoints on a particular topic, with the goal of persuading the audience or proving that their stance is more valid. The opening part of a debate is very crucial because it, among other things, sets the tone and captures the attention of the audience. If you can start your argument strong, you are likely to effectively convey your message and persuade others to consider your perspective. That’s why this article is going to show you that will give you an edge over your opponents.

how to begin a debate

Five Captivating Ways to Begin a Debate

Here are 5 captivating ways to begin a debate and completely grab the full attention of your audience:

  1. Tell a captivating story
  2. Ask a rhetorical question
  3. Share a surprising fact
  4. Use a powerful quote
  5. Use a prop or a creative visual aid

1. Tell a captivating story

It could be about why you’re so passionate about the topic, a lesson learned from someone else’s experience, a wise tale, or a historical event that highlights your main points.

Your story should really show what your debate is all about. Maybe talk about the challenges you’ve faced with the topic, how you dealt with them, and what you’ve learned.

For example, “I have seizures, and medical marijuana has been a lifesaver. My family and I had to move for me to get treatment, but it was worth it. My seizures went from five a day to just one a week.”

Make sure your story is heartfelt, not just something you remember. Your audience will connect more with a genuine story.

2. Ask a rhetorical question

This is another good way to begin a debate, by asking a thought-provoking rhetorical question. When you begin your debate by asking skillfully constructed rhetorical question, you can sway your audience towards your viewpoint. The goal is to prompt the audience to silently reflect on the question, drawing their focus to your subject. So begin your debate by framing a question that resonates with your audience and convinces them that you share their humanity and beliefs.

For example, you can ask, “Do you ever wish to witness a loved one endure needless suffering?”

Ensure that your question helps your audience to connect with you by convincing them that you all agree on something.

3. Share a surprising fact

This fact should be closely linked to what you’re arguing for. Its impact can sway your audience to support your approach to tackling the problem.

For instance, you could mention, “Every year, over a million plastic bottles are used worldwide. If laid end to end, they would circle the Earth four times.” Then, go on to discuss the problem and why your solution is the most effective.

4. Use a powerful quote

Using quotes in your speech strengthens your points and adds credibility to your ideas. They also show your audience that you are well-informed about the topic. Choose a quote that relates to your subject and resonates with your audience. You can opt for quotes from well-known figures, or individuals your audience is familiar with.

For example, if you are discussing the importance of taking risks, you might begin with, “Steve Jobs famously said, ‘Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.’”

Ensure the quote genuinely speaks to you and your audience, and aligns with the point you are making.

5. Use a prop or a creative visual aid

This could be a picture, a video, or an object that vividly represents the core of your argument. A creative visual aid enhances understanding of the issue, adds visual appeal, and sparks your audience’s imagination. Moreover, it helps imprint the message in their minds.

For instance, if you’re advocating the reality of climate change, showcase a comparison picture of a glacier before and after being impacted by the increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

By incorporating such visual elements, you’ll effectively communicate your message and leave a lasting impression on your audience.

Read Also: Reasons Why Female Child is Important in the Family (Points for Debate)

How to Begin a Debate During Presentation

When doing the actual presentation of the debate, here’s how to begin:

  1. Greet the audience
  2. State what your side is arguing
  3. Make eye contact with audience members
  4. Speak slowly and clearly

1. Greet the audience

As a way to begin your debate, you should greet your audience. When you begin a debate by greeting your audience, it shows that you are really confident and committed to the discussion ahead. It also shows that you respect the viewpoints of your audience.

For example, you can greet your audience by saying, “Good morning the moderator, time-keeper, co-debaters, staff and students. The topic of today’s debate is students loan.” Or you can say, “Good morning teachers and students. Thank you for taking the time to come to this debate. Today, the topic is students loan.”

2. State what your side is arguing

After greeting your audience, the next thing to do is to concisely state your team’s argument. Here, you need to be precise and straight to the point. The reason is because the audience may lose interest if your statement contains too many words. As the first and main speaker from your team, you also need to explain to your audience the roles of each speaker.

For example, you can state what your side is arguing by saying, “We believe that students loans should be cancelled immediately after college,” or “We believe that students should begin to pay back their loans immediately after graduation.”

You can explain the role of each speaker by saying, “As the first speaker, I will be defining some key concepts and laying out our main argument. Our second speaker will explain the supporting reasons for our argument, while our third speaker will wrap things up by summarizing our key points.

3. Make eye contact with audience members

Make sure to establish eye contact with individuals in the audience. Making eye contact allows you to gauge their reactions through their facial expressions. It also enables you to connect personally with members of the audience, making your argument more compelling.

Remember to maintain eye contact with the audience at the end of each sentence.

Don’t make the mistake of focusing on one person for too long. Hold eye contact with each person for about three to five seconds, then shift your gaze to someone else.

If maintaining eye contact is not what you do easily, you can practice it with someone you know for a minute or two, then repeat the exercise 5 or 6 times. This practice will greatly enhance your ability to connect with your audience during your presentation.

4. Speak slowly and clearly

During the debate, don’t rush your speech. To speak more slowly, remember to take deep breaths after each sentence. Pauses are important too. They give you time to breathe and plan your next words, while also letting your audience absorb what you’ve said.

Frequently Asked Questions on How to Begin a Debate

How do you start a debate introduction?

To start a debate introduction, begin with a strong opening statement that grabs the audience’s attention and clearly states your position on the topic. You can also provide some background information or context to set the stage for the debate.

What is the best opening line for a debate?

The best opening line for a debate is one that is compelling and captures the minds of the audience. For example, “Ladies and gentlemen, today we gather to explore the critical question of the impact of social media on mental health, a matter that impacts us all profoundly.”

How do you start an opening statement for a debate?

To start an opening statement for a debate, you want to capture the audience’s attention and clearly state your position on the topic. Begin with a strong and concise introduction, followed by an outline of the main points you will be discussing during the debate.

How do you start a debate format?

To start a debate, follow the structured format in the table below:

1. Introduction The moderator welcomes the audience and introduces the topic.
2. Opening Statements Each side presents their opening statements. This is where they state their position and outline their main arguments.
3. Rebuttal Each side has the opportunity to respond to the arguments presented by the opposing side, pointing out flaws or presenting counterarguments.
4. Cross-Examination Members from each side may question each other to further clarify arguments or challenge opposing views.
5. Closing Statements Each side summarizes their main points and reinforces their position.
6. Audience Q&A (optional) The audience may have the opportunity to ask questions to the debaters.
7. Conclusion The moderator concludes the debate, thanking the participants and summarizing key points.

How to start a debate greeting example

Here’s an example of how to start a debate greeting:

“Good morning, honorable judges and esteemed audience, and welcome to today’s debate on gender roles. We’re excited to engage in a thoughtful discussion on this important issue.”

How to begin a debate speech

To begin a debate speech, you want to start with a strong opening that grabs the audience’s attention and clearly states your position on the topic. Here’s an example:

“Good morning, honorable judges and esteemed audience.. Today, I stand before you to argue for the motion that a male child is more important than a female child. As we go into this discussion, it’s crucial to recognize the profound impact gender perception has on our society. Allow me to present our case and demonstrate why my team firmly believes that a male child is more important than a female child.”

Read Also: Male Education is Better than Female Education Debate (Heated Debate)


So here’s where we come to the end of this educating guide on how to begin a debate. We have shown you the fundamental aspects of starting a debate effectively. We emphasized the importance of crafting a compelling opening that captures the attention of the audience and clearly states your position on the topic. Our goal is to equip debaters with the necessary tools to kickstart a successful and engaging discussion. Hope the post achieves our goal?

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About Henry Divine

Henry Divine is a passionate educator and seasoned blogger with a strong commitment to providing valuable insights and resources to the education community. With over 6 years of experience in the field, Henry's articles are well-researched, authoritative, and tailored to meet the needs of teachers, students, and parents alike. Through his blog, Henry aims to empower readers with practical tips, innovative strategies, and evidence-based practices to foster lifelong learning and academic success. Follow Henry for the latest updates and expert advice on all things education.

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