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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 8:39 pm 
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Typically I'll start with something along the lines of " Good (morning/evening)! In this (# C or R) speech of the round, I will be addressing some of the allegations by the ___ team."

Or I'll close with,
"It's for these reasons that I have been briefly speaking on this (morning/evening) that I strongly urge a/n ___ ballot."

Occasionally, if we have a standard, I will close with essentially
"It's because we best uphold (blahblahblah) vote for us plz."

While not awful, it still feels robotic, especially since every speech I give ends this way without fail..

What openers/closers do you you guys use (when you don't have an opening piece of evidence)?

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 12:33 am 
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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.)

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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.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 7:05 am 
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My last year, I made a point of trying out some of the most pointless closers I could think of ("oh look at the time, please vote for me by the way" was one of my favorites). I got a few smiles and a few frowns, but really it never made a difference. Usually I would completely skip the opening and jump right in, unless I had some specific example or interesting question to pose at the beginning that really contributed as an opener.

What matters most is the meat of your speech. If you have a good opening or closing thing to say, go ahead and use it, it can help if incorporated right. But the emphasis a lot of people have on ALWAYS having some opening and closing statement leads to mechanical repetitiveness that doesn't give you anything.

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Caleb Smith
Region IV Alumnus
Cog Debate

"But I declare that Carthage must be destroyed."
Cato the Elder


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 5:25 pm 
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I've personally found the best openers are usually generic opening quotes. My partner and I have sometimes sat down together and researched humorous yet thought-provoking quotes and then compiled them into a document. We have about two pages of them, and whenever we need one, we can usually find one. They can come from movies, philosophers, world leaders, random people, etc... I really enjoy using movie quotes because it adds a little humor to an otherwise dull round.

As for closers, I usually just end with a summary of my arguments and "I urge you to vote ____" When I feel really crafty, I'll end with another cool generic quote or just reference my generic opener.

Since I haven't been in the league for that long as compared to others, my opinion may not be as high in value, but that's my two cents worth. Hope this helps!

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:05 pm 
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Quote:
I've personally found the best openers are usually generic opening quotes.

No.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 12:45 am 
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_idontknow_ wrote:
Quote:
I've personally found the best openers are usually generic opening quotes.
No.
Some years back, Region IV went through a phase where every third team started a speech with the John Adams quote "Facts are stubborn things."

This mildly amused judges and annoyed the everloving daylights out of everyone else.

_________________
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.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 1:39 am 
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MSD wrote:
_idontknow_ wrote:
Quote:
I've personally found the best openers are usually generic opening quotes.
No.
Some years back, Region IV went through a phase where every third team started a speech with the John Adams quote "Facts are stubborn things."

This mildly amused judges and annoyed the everloving daylights out of everyone else.


I see that potentially occurring, but as long as you choose underused quotes, it's usually fine.

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Brandon Denney Region IV
Denney/Denney 2014-2015 Veritas TX
Denney/Denney 2015-2016 Veritas TX
Denney/Denney 2016-2017 Club 19:14
Brandon Denney 2017-2018 Club 19:14


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 9:57 pm 
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brando.2000 wrote:
MSD wrote:
_idontknow_ wrote:
Quote:
I've personally found the best openers are usually generic opening quotes.
No.
Some years back, Region IV went through a phase where every third team started a speech with the John Adams quote "Facts are stubborn things."

This mildly amused judges and annoyed the everloving daylights out of everyone else.


I see that potentially occurring, but as long as you choose underused quotes, it's usually fine.


See, the problem with generic quotes, even underused generic quotes, is that they are...well, generic.

Also, they are lazy. Don't use some little quote from some founding father or a movie - develop original rhetoric and use it, don't rely on generic opening quotes. Sometimes they will work, but it's almost always going to be more powerful opening up with your own words and analysis.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:40 am 
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_idontknow_ wrote:
brando.2000 wrote:
MSD wrote:
_idontknow_ wrote:
Quote:
I've personally found the best openers are usually generic opening quotes.
No.
Some years back, Region IV went through a phase where every third team started a speech with the John Adams quote "Facts are stubborn things."

This mildly amused judges and annoyed the everloving daylights out of everyone else.


I see that potentially occurring, but as long as you choose underused quotes, it's usually fine.


See, the problem with generic quotes, even underused generic quotes, is that they are...well, generic.

Also, they are lazy. Don't use some little quote from some founding father or a movie - develop original rhetoric and use it, don't rely on generic opening quotes. Sometimes they will work, but it's almost always going to be more powerful opening up with your own words and analysis.


I'm not saying use them all the time, but I wouldn't call it lazy. When I use them, I use it to spice up an otherwise dull round. Plus, using your own rhetoric is sometimes good, but using the words of a great philosopher like Socrates adds more credibility to your side. Honestly, a homeschooled high-school debater pales in comparison to great philosophers like Henry David Thoreau or great orators like Winston Churchill. That's why I generally prefer generic quotes over my rhetoric.

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Brandon Denney Region IV
Denney/Denney 2014-2015 Veritas TX
Denney/Denney 2015-2016 Veritas TX
Denney/Denney 2016-2017 Club 19:14
Brandon Denney 2017-2018 Club 19:14


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:53 am 
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^I agree with the drift of what i_don't_know is saying, but the flip side is when someone is able to take a generic quote and make it their own. Like I had some friends that would frequently quote The Princess Bride, and they would really enthusiastically get into it. I could see some judges docking them for goofiness, but never for not being "original" even though the quote & analogy was not their own. I've similarly seen someone take a stock generic quote (specifically the variously attributed definition of insanity) but make it really work because it was actually a pithy summary of their entire thesis that was developed and impacted throughout the speech [clarify - I don't mean they quoted it over and over again but that all their arguments clearly developed the idea].

But in general I agree: use good openers if you have one, but I prefer no opener to a bad one.

@brando: If you have some good generic quotes you like to use, consider using them in your speech during your discussion of the specific point that they apply to, as opposed to using them as openers. Of course sometimes the quote may apply to your entire position, which would make it more suitable for an opener, but often that is the case because the quote is a truism ("he who asserts must prove" and "facts are stubborn things" and all that) and I would recommend you limit the use of those too.

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Caleb Smith
Region IV Alumnus
Cog Debate

"But I declare that Carthage must be destroyed."
Cato the Elder


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:56 am 
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Caleb wrote:
^I agree with the drift of what i_don't_know is saying, but the flip side is when someone is able to take a generic quote and make it their own. Like I had some friends that would frequently quote The Princess Bride, and they would really enthusiastically get into it. I could see some judges docking them for goofiness, but never for not being "original" even though the quote & analogy was not their own. I've similarly seen someone take a stock generic quote (specifically the variously attributed definition of insanity) but make it really work because it was actually a pithy summary of their entire thesis that was developed and impacted throughout the speech [clarify - I don't mean they quoted it over and over again but that all their arguments clearly developed the idea].

But in general I agree: use good openers if you have one, but I prefer no opener to a bad one.

@brando: If you have some good generic quotes you like to use, consider using them in your speech during your discussion of the specific point that they apply to, as opposed to using them as openers. Of course sometimes the quote may apply to your entire position, which would make it more suitable for an opener, but often that is the case because the quote is a truism ("he who asserts must prove" and "facts are stubborn things" and all that) and I would recommend you limit the use of those too.


I completely agree with you. The generic quotes I use usually sum up my entire position.

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Denney/Denney 2014-2015 Veritas TX
Denney/Denney 2015-2016 Veritas TX
Denney/Denney 2016-2017 Club 19:14
Brandon Denney 2017-2018 Club 19:14


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:46 pm 
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brando.2000 wrote:
Honestly, a homeschooled high-school debater pales in comparison to great philosophers like Henry David Thoreau or great orators like Winston Churchill.

But if you can't properly treat a subject, it's best not to raise it. I've very rarely seen openers which really got at a unique trajectory in a famous person's thought, they are normally just witty quotes that can be interpreted to apply to a broad variety of situations. It's a disservice to the great thinkers to cite them with no exposition of their actual thought. Let's not pretend that we're really plumbing the depths of Aristotle's thought or whatever unless you're going to, ya know, plumb the depths of his thought! When I see a quote like that there's no real boost (from my pov as a judge) to credibility from it. All I see is that you know how to google "quotes on freedom" or some such thing.

Now a much *better* way to do openers is to reference an idea of a specific person, develop it, and use it as a framework for your speech. i.e. Aristotle's Golden Mean or some aspect of int'l relations theory. This adds credibility and helps develop a narrative through which the judge can understand evidence, but in a way that's friendly to you. You need to be careful because this can become a waste of time, but it can also be really helpful.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 5:56 pm 
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Proper opening:
Hello, my name is Gus, but you can call me, John Slade.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 1:56 am 
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You can call me Gustavo.

Can I call you Heisenberg? Or simply Walter White?

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