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60. Public Speaking Intermediate: 8. Module 7: Engaging in debates

As a corporate officer / manager, there will be times when you will have to engage in discussions / disputes that may have the form of debates.

How do we manage ourselves in these situations?

Allow me to suggest a standard format you can take so that you cover all bases:

  1. Main disagreement (State this clearly first)

  2. Point of contention (Once you find this out, state this clearly too)

  3. Objective (Bring all participants to an agreement on what is the objective of the discussion. What is the expected result?)

  4. Compare points (Allow everyone to highlight points, both for and against, for consideration and comparison)

  5. Look for Win-Win (Remember you are all in the same team, and the idea is to end the debate with a win-win solution)

Then before you proceed to walk into a debate, here are some tips I found useful:

A. Know your points - What is your stand and what are your arguments

B. Listen with an open mind - The other side could have valid points too

C. Listen to others’ points - Some may complement your points

D. Aim is not to win, but to move forward - Remember you are in the same organisation

This approach should be helpful:

3 Pronged Approach

A. Look for similarities (work from there)

B. Evaluate differences. Why? Perspectives?

C. Lay down the law as a last resort - assert your authority only if everyone comes to a stalemate and a result is required

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