Many people shy away from debate—especially with loved ones—because they believe it will lead to conflict and offense. But debate has many positives! The elements of debating help us grow and become better people…that is, when done with grace.
Engaging in healthy debate flexes our intellectual muscles. When we debate on a topic or an issue that we don’t really favor, we put ourselves to a challenge and form new patterns of analyzing what we already know, forming new connections and ideas, and enhance our reasoning abilities. Staying on the main topic helps our focus, while sharpening our critical thinking skills.
DISCOVER & TEST NEW IDEAS
If you’re one who spends alone time soaking in new thoughts and want to “test out” any new ideas, try debating them with another great debater! This is also the perfect time to research and gain new knowledge to back up your points. You may need some tough gator skin to verbally flesh out your new theories to see whether or not the fellow debater agrees with your or not, but this is another positive reason for debate.
Debating with someone who holds almost opposing views to yours can open your eyes to perspectives you didn’t even know existed. You may look at homelessness differently after a good, spirited debate; you may look at immigration from multiple viewpoints and develop a higher respect and understanding of foreigners. Debating is a unique way to learn something new and develop your outlook on different ideas.
FORTIFY COMMUNICATION SKILLS
This world needs strong, effective communicators and debating can birth just that. Verbally debating our ideas helps us to “think out loud” and get our main points across. Being passionate and taking a strong stance on whatever side we’re debating helps us to communicate our points effectively, especially if we are attempting to get the other person to understand our point of view or gain their empathy. A successful debate happens when both parties are direct, integral, and don’t beat around the bush. So, this strengthens communications by means of being concise and clear.
A written debate, whether a blot, book review, scholarly article, or school essay, can amplify written communication skills and create eloquent, effective writers. It’s the same with verbal debate: getting your audience to understand your side of the argument the same way you do, even if they don’t agree with you at the end. Taking something such as an argument-based research course will help develop young, effective communicators who can use their skills anywhere.
GET TO KNOW OTHERS
We discover great depth about a person through their ideas, personal convictions, social and political views, and general beliefs on certain ideas and situations. Debate can reveal to us whether a person is more traditional, creative, proactive, or adventurous. Being on a debate team can help us meet likeminded people who share similar perspectives and beliefs.
Debating pulls some people outside of their comfort zones, especially if they don’t particularly enjoy going back and forth about an idea. But debate can be healthy when done the right way! It can help build self-esteem by helping someone overcome public speaking fears. For students, it can give them the courage to participate and speak up more in class discussions. Debating also teaches humility! Not everyone will win a debate every time, and it’s important to know how to lose gracefully.
Here’s how to debate without the drama:
Debate with those who debate for enjoyment. Some people find pleasure in talking out their ideas and seeing how sensible they are. People who enjoy debate usually have a tougher skin than those who shy away from it due to a strong dislike or fear of conflict. You will get more out of your debate by debating with these people because chances are, they know how to debate without negativity. Have a mediator who can neutralize the situation if things go awry. Join a debate team to learn the proper etiquette of debate, stay logical and neutral and don’t interrupt the other party.
Debate with etiquette and passion!