Debate 101 Method

Debate 101: 2nd Speaker

The second speaker’s job is simple: respond to the previous speakers’ arguments and extend the debate.

The second speaker’s job is simple: respond to the previous speakers’ arguments and extend the debate. While first speakers have an entire grocery list to check off for their speeches, second speakers enjoy the simple structure of Responses and Extensions.

Second speakers are also known as Deputies. Because when you’re on Government, you’re a Deputy Prime Minister (DPM), and when you’re on Opposition, you’re Deputy Leader of Opposition (DLO). Let’s talk about the duties of these deputies.


(first 4-5 minutes of your speech in a 7-minute format, first 5-6 minutes of your speech in an 8-minute format)

You’re speaking midway into the debate and the speakers before you have brought a lot of material, so second speakers normally spend this much time making rebuttals! If you’re DPM, respond to all of your LO’s materials. If you’re DLO, respond mainly to DPM, but attack PM’s arguments too if you need to cover up for missing response in LO (which is common because LO is expected to bring a lot of material).

Click here to learn how to make responses in detail.


(the rest of your speech)

Sometimes, second speakers are forgiven for only bringing rebuttals, as long as they’re not material from the first speaker repeated in a different way. This is something to do for a last resort, because normally, the second speaker is expected to bring substantive material. The reason it’s called an extension in second is because it’s an extended impact from the motion that’s less obvious than those brought in first.

Overall, the way you can think of an extension is by looking for an argument that has either of these things:

  • A different actor
  • A different impact
  • A different scenario
  • A different argument type (principle/practical)

More of the goodies is in this article about extensions.

What do I do during casebuild?

  • Help the first speaker make their case first! It’s top priority because you’re speaking later and will have more time to think.
  • Think of an extension after the first speaker has a setup and knows what arguments they’re going to bring. If you’re stuck, ask your teammates to help you.
  • Throughout the whole casebuilding process, think of what the opposition team might bring and have pre-emptions ready, so you can just put them in your responses later.

That’s all for second speakers! Does this look like the kind of speaker you’d most like to become? Or have you learned new things about second speakers? Well, if you’re still curious, there’s actually more about this here—we’ve got details on how to respond effectively and types of extensions as well.

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