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ON THIS, THERE IS NO DEBATE !
Public Speaking is a much sought-after skill. The ability to convincingly put forth one’s ideas, views, perspectives, thoughts and opinions, is a crucial and hugely advantageous power to have. It is useful to students at school and college, and later in one’s professional work-life. One facet of effective communication is of course to be able to pen down one’s thoughts. The other, and arguably tougher aspect is communicating these views, vocalizing, and verbalizing them, in a public scenario. For the latter, there is no better forum, than Debating!
TAPPING INTO AN INHERENT SKILL
People the world over, and perhaps we Indians more than others, love a gregarious argument. We have a rich history of debating through the various ages of our own history and a culture of resolving problems, issues, and matters, through discussion and deliberation. I truly believe that each Indian possesses an inherent quality to debate – to weigh the pros and cons of a situation and come to the most suitable conclusion/solution. We debate in our own heads all the time, and make choices based on these debates, from the smallest and most seemingly banal questions such as Tea vs Coffee to larger, more pressing matters such as whom to vote for. To take this innate talent and bring it on to a formal Debating stage is only going to hone and polish this craft that is naturally embedded in us.
DEMOCRATIC & FAIR
In a war-torn world where several parts of the globe are experiencing strife; it is all the more important for young people to realize, understand, appreciate, and implement the potential of meaningful dialogue. Nothing is ever resolved using violence. It is an intellectual presentation of varying points of view, and a deep analysis of these diverse notions, that will lead to a fair, democratic, and just manner in which to tackle and resolve issues. Debating instils precisely these qualities in young students who seriously adopt this pursuit. Not only do they learn how to represent their own concerns, but they also develop a keen and genuine sense of listening, and therefore empathy towards the other.
UNDERSTANDING ISSUES & OPINION FORMATION
When young people are given debating topics, they are compelled to study, research and scrutinize those topics. This increases their understanding of pressing global and local issues, added to which they then infuse their own views of the specific topic. It helps to refine one’s opinion-formation and develop a logical, fact-based, wellthought-out way of approaching not only the topics that are being debated but pretty much any situation they are confronted with, throughout life. In that sense, the scope of debating is not restricted to just that specific verbal duel but rather a lifelong skill and a scientific way of thinking and breaking down any matter. Debaters often imbibe a strong sense of looking at a certain issue from various different perspectives, and this is an invaluable skill to have.
CONFIDENT & SELFASSURED INDIVIDUALS
Debating is an activity that forces participants to take on certain fears, head-on. Stage fright, public address, nervousness and butterflies in one’s stomach; are all very normal feelings that one experiences when talking to a large, live audience. The more one debates, the better one gets at dealing with and handling these fears. What one emerges as, is a confident and self-assured individual who is unafraid, uninhibited, and unencumbered by the prospect of speaking one’s mind clearly, connivingly and succinctly. Yes, making speeches and other forms of Public Speaking can also do the same. Having said that, I feel the efficacy, the sharp l e a r n i n g curve that d e b a t i n g presents, is unparalleled.
Debaters who have had a certain amount of practice and exposure automatically open up several work avenues for themselves. Many professions and fields of work require clear and concise communication skills. The Foreign Services, Administrative Services, and Law are just a few examples that come to mind instantly, where an individual who is able to persuasively put forth ideas, views, and opinions will be very well served in that particular role/job. Therefore, not only does debating help one at school and college levels, but it is also something that has real-world and practical applications. The world of debating is full of potential. It is a dynamic, evolving, exciting ambit that is far beyond just an immersive time-pass. It has relevant and real merits and should be tried by as many young students as possible. It can be extremely liberating and empowering. On this, there is no debate!