Each jury member judges on five equal criteria

  1. ARGUMENTS

This criterion 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;
  • How original the arguments are;
  • Whether substantial research has been carried out for the speech;
  • Whether the examples that are used to illustrate the arguments are of sufficient quality and pertinence.

Conversely, speakers should be penalized:

  • If they confuse arguments with examples;
  • If they fail to address the motion;
  • If they are illogical or contradict themselves.

 

 2. FORM

Presentation concerns how the content of a speech is put forth. This includes several elements: 

  • Structure of the speech;
  • Timing;
  • Use of rhetorical devices;
  • Use of humour, pathos, or other emotions to draw the audience in.

Conversely, speakers should be penalized:

  • If they do not signpost their speech;
  • If they are hard to follow;
  • If it is apparent that the speaker did not sufficiently prepare his/her speech.

 

3. TEAMWORK

Teamwork regards team spirit, the coherence within a team, and how well speakers respect their respective roles within said team. Indeed: the better team is not a collection of the five best speakers.

On an individual level:

Speakers should respect their assigned roles. More precisely: 

  • First speaker (the Prime Minister or Shadow PM): the PM should define the terms and the frame of the motiondescribe his or her team line, and introduce his or her team members whilst giving a foretaste of their arguments;
  • Second, Third, and Fourth speakers: the speakers must present their individual arguments and link them to the overall team line;
  • Fifth speaker (the Whip): the Whip gives a summary speech, in which he or she underlines the points of clash between the two teams, whilst briefly summing up both sides’ arguments, and demonstrating why his or her team was victorious. The Whip does not present new arguments.

Collectively:

  • There should be a sense of progression; speakers should refer to each other back and forth;
  • There has to be a clear party line and a sense of cohesion.
  • As the debate progresses each team member should make more and more references to the arguments of the opposing team.

Conversely, teams should be penalized:

  • If they do not refer to each other;
  • If speakers fail to adequately insert their speeches in the preannounced team line;
  • If it is apparent that speakers prepared the debate purely individually;
  • If speakers contradict each other.

 

4. ENGAGEMENT

The fifth and final criterion is "Engagement". This takes into account how well teams interact with their opponents, and specifically:

  • The quality of their rebuttal: are the speeches of the opposing team acknowledged and dealt with?
  • The quality and number of their POIs: was the POI pertinent or destabilising? Did the speaker answer it satisfactorily?
  • Their capacity to react to their adversary's arguments as a whole, and to adequately adapt their own line of argumentation to match and counteract their opponent's.

 

5. STAR QUALITY

Dear Judges, it is probably this quality, this famous "je ne sais quoi" that we all enjoy so much: this criterion illustrates that a speaker has become an orator. It is the most subjective criterion, to be awarded to those whose spark and aura made you fall in love with their speeches. As a clue, Star Quality can be held by a speaker that:

  • Is particularly captivating;
  • Used body language to his or her advantage;
  • Varied his or her voice in tone, pitch, and volume to give rhythm to his or her speech;
  • Maintained eye contact with the audience;
  • Was particularly charismatic, and acted out his or her speech instead of simply reading it.

Conversely, typically lack Star Quality: 

  • If they failed to hold the audience’s attention;
  • If they read their speech too much;
  • If they were too stiff, or monotonous;
  • If they did not respect the rules or the spirit of the game, by showing too much arrogance, contempt, or aggressiveness towards the other team (“Deathstar Quality”).