Each jury member judges on five equal criteria
This regards both the content of the speech and the research done for it. As far as the arguments are concerned:
- Ask yourself how consistent the speech is.
- How pertinent or logical it is.
- Is the speaker easy to follow?
- How original is he or are his arguments?
- Has substantial research been carried out for this speech?
Also pay a lot of attention to the examples used:
- Quality of the examples or anecdotes used to illustrate or justify the arguments
- Pertinence of the examples
- Does the speaker go the “extra mile”?
You also have to judge how the content is put over. This includes several elements:
- Speaking style
- Structure of the speech
- Use of rhetorical devices
- Humour (very important in FDA)
- Eye contact: the speaker shouldn’t read his/her notes too much
- Body language
3. TEAMWORK AND STRATEGY
Teamwork regards the linking with one’s team, the presence of a coherent team line.
Strategy concerns the handling of points of information and the line of attack adopted etc.
On an individual level:
There should be a sense of progression; speakers should refer back and forward. Speakers should respect their roles. More precisely, let’s stress the specific roles of the first and fifth speakers:
- First speaker: three important elements: defines and interprets the motion, describes his/her team line,introduces his/her team and gives a foretaste of their arguments.
- Fifth speaker: gives a summary speech, in which he/she points out the clash between the two teams, ties up the rebuttal, briefly sums up their side’s arguments, and … underlines how much better they were than the other side’s!
- Speakers must never contradict other members of the team
- There has to be a clear party line and a sense of cohesion
Handling of the Points of Information:
- Is the speaker destabilized?
- Is the answer satisfactory?
NB: a poor question deserves a dismissive answer, as long as it’s witty
- Does the speaker actively participate in the debate by ASKING Points of Information?
- Are the arguments of the opposing team acknowledged and dealt with?
NB: If a speaker knows that a point raised by the previous speaker (opposing team) will be dealt with later by a team‐mate, he/she can simply point it out, but ALL new arguments must be acknowledged and ultimately answered.
Remember: the better team is not the collection of the five best speakers. We must feel that a team has worked together, that it clicks together and that it creates an overall atmosphere of understanding, cohesion and spirit.
4. STAR QUALITY (THE famous “je ne sais quoi”)
Dear Judges, it is probably this quality, this famous "je ne sais quoi" that we all enjoy so much. It is probably all the more hard to judge because of this. To help you, you should pay attention to the overall impression you have of the candidates and of the team. Notably, teams should be awarded extra credit:
- If they were particularly entertaining
- If they managed to destabilize their opponents
- If they did a good job of defending the harder point of view (be careful about the extremely subjective nature of this criterion)
On the reverse, teams should be penalized:
- If they did not ask enough POI’s, or poor ones, or badly formulated ones
- If they were unclear or boring
- If they contradicted each other, failed to rebut
- If they did not respect the rules or the spirit of the game
The fifth and final criterion is "Engagement". This takes into account how well teams interacts with their opponents, and specifically:
- The quality of their rebuttals
- The quality and number of their POIs
- Their capacity to react to their adversary's arguments as a whole, and to adequatley adapt their own line of argumentation to match and counteract their opponent's
Consequently, teams should be penalized if they fail to address the points raised by their opponents, or tackle their definition of the debate: both teams should be debating the same motion, and clash as much as possible!