Debate Notes

Table of Contents


Large pieces of paper are useful for flowing arguments.

Multiple colors of pen can help you highlight things on the page easily. Different weights can be used the same way.

Use a nice notebook or binder to keep your debate notes. If you don’t like the paper, type them up. They can be useful to reference later on.

Note Taking

Use symbols and abbreviations. This will shorten the space needed for your notes, reduce the time required to write notes, and allow you focus on relationalships.


Create a specific section for your introduction and conclusion. They are powerful rhetorical devices that can significantly affect the evaluation of your speech quality.

Write down time checkpoints. Make them easy to identify. This will help you keep track of your remaining time and can help you know whether you are behind or ahead at any given moment. For complicated speeches, just draw a big line at your rough estimation of the halfway point.

Don’t write down most of what the opponents say, write down what you are going to say.

Take a full flow of arguments, even after you are finished speaking. This will help you keep track of the debate and discover contradications in the opponents speeches.

Don’t say everything that you write down, make sure you note which of your arguments are worth using and which should be discarded. Adding numbers beside these ideas will help you structure your speech and make you seem more organized. Judges are typically more likely to write down things with numbers.

Keep track of arguments that they don’t respond too, and pull it through in your next speech.

Reply speakers should flow out the whole debate. However, they don’t speak from their flow. Create a reply speech page from scratch.

Have a section of your notes for your POIs. Keep track of potential POIs, they can even be written down verbatim.


Watch how arguments move throughout the debate. Should know the responses are, and what the responses to the responses are.

Write down what debaters mean, rather than what they say verbatim (unless it’s funny).

Points of Information


Confusing messages should be delivered in a direct and explicit manner to ensure that the audience understands what you are talking about.

If possible, use an implicit or indirect style of address concepts. This typically creates the most conversion. This may not be as effective because debate judges will discount material that they discover themselves.