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What exactly are refutation and rebuttal?

This is the essence of debating, the difference between public speaking and debating! Put simply, to refute an argument is to produce evidence (facts or figures) to prove it untrue. To rebut an argument is to discredit it by offering a completely different point of view.

Anticipating arguments

When preparing and researching your own speech you will need to anticipate the kinds of arguments your opponents will use. Jot down notes, quotes and statistics so that you are prepared to question the other team’s arguments.

It’s essential that every speaker attempts to have a go at their opponent’s arguments; each of you can earn 10 marks for refutation and rebuttal. Don’t leave it up to the others on your team. Remember, it’s your chance to have your two cents and convince the adjudicators how absurd your opponent’s arguments are. 

Also, try not to tack your rebuttal onto the beginning or the end of your speech. Try to weave it into the body of your speech and time it well to emphasise the points you are making.