Monthly Archives: March 2020

Why Do Debaters Speak So Fast? An Excerpt From The Topeka School

The most controversial characteristic of competitive academic debate as practiced in many “national circuit” formats is the speed at which speeches are delivered. For as long as there have been competitive debates with strict time limits, participants have attempted to make the most of their limited speech times by speaking as quickly as their audiences will tolerate. Attempts to restrain the speed of debaters’ deliveries have largely failed. Lincoln-Douglas debate, founded 40 years ago as a slower alternative to policy debate, is now often as fast as its older sibling. And Public Forum debate, founded almost 20 years ago as an even more aggressive reaction to “fast debate,” is following the same trajectory; many Public Forum debates are now just as fast as policy debates.

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