It is the job of the first speaker to introduce their team's case, rebut (if negative), define the topic (if affirmative), outline the team split and to let the audience know what direction your case is going in.
The job of first affirmative:
- Define topic -
This is very important. In defining, you should clearly specify the
important issue(s). The definition should define the whole phrase, not
just individual words. Key words may have to be individually defined
- Show team split
The team split is the part of a first speaker's speech that says what
all their team-mates are going to say. A team split would sound
"I will be speaking about the excessive amounts of television that
children watch today. Our second speaker, Mr Michael Smith, will be
speaking about the rising rates of ADHD in children who watch
television. Our third speaker, Mr Thomas Fennacelli, will summerise our
- Introduce team line -
The team line is a section where many debaters slip up. Team lines like
"Space exploration is not a sensation" will lose you points in
interschool debates. The team line should summerise the arguments of
your team. Line that rhyme or are hammy will not make you popular with
adjudicators. Save it for class debates, intershool adjudicators HATE it!
The job of first negative:
Fix any problems with definition - If the negative team has any disagreements with the affirmative's definition, these problems must be resolved immediately. If
the negative team wishes to challenge the definition, they must prove
to the adjudicator that they has the most reasonable definition.
According to the DAV (Debating Association of Victoria), these are the
three steps for a definitional challenge:
1. Clearly state the alternative definition being proposed by the Negative.
2. Give arguments to show why their definition is the most reasonable definition.
3. Rebut the arguments presented by the Affirmative.
Show team split - See First Affirmative.
Rebuttal - The First Negative should attack the core argument of the affirmative team, as well as the specific arguments.
Dos and Dont's for First Speakers:
Do make your team line interesting and thought-provoking.
Don't make your team line rhyme and childlike.
Don't feel like you have to have one team line. Alter it slightly from speaker to speaker to make it less repetitive and boring!
plan ahead with things like team splits. If two or your speakers talk
about the same thing, you will look very silly and consequently be
marked down by the adjudicator.
Do give the split at the start of your speech, usually after team line and definition.