Vic Debsoc

Guide to Prepared Debates

Prepared style debating is used at New Zealand’s Joynt Scroll tournament. Instead of having moots set aside just before the debate, one moot is announced well in advance of the debate – usually weeks. The two teams are then allowed to meet within themselves and discuss the debate and prepare speeches and material to take into the debate.

The debate follows the same format as Australs style, except that speeches are from 9-10 minutes, and Leader’s replies 4-5 minutes.
The key thing that differentiates this style of debating is that points of information may be used. These “POIs” allow a member of the team opposing the current speaker to stand and ask for permission to offer a POI. This is usually done simply by saying “on that point”, “point of information” or simply “maddam/sir”. The speaker on the floor is then allowed to accept or decline the POI. If declined, the debater offering the point must sit down immediately without speaking. If accepted, the debater is invited to ask a short question of the current speaker. Points should be short, witty and to the point, and should not be any longer than a couple of sentences or 15 seconds. It is important to note that the speaker at the front has control of the floor the whole time, and can ask a debater to sit down, or instruct that s/he has understood the point without need for further explanation. Following the point, the speaker is expected to answer the point in any fashion, so as to defend their case.

POIs can be offered during any of the substantive speeches, but not during Leader’s replies. During these speeches they can be offered between the 1st and 9th minutes. For this reason there is one bell given after 1 minute, as well as another at 9 minutes and two at 10. Speakers are expected to accept around two POIs during their speech, however opposition teams are expected to offer many more than that.

Prepared debates are judged on similar criteria to Australs and Easters style debates, and straight negatives (see Australs style) are allowed.