Top 5 tips to improve your English debating skills

So, you want to improve your English debating skills? There are several ways to do this, both from a debating technique standpoint and from a language base. If you've got a grasp of English, or want to improve, debating is a really good way to increase your language skills. In the article below you'll find five top tips to improve your English language skills, including listening, planning and your delivery.

Research your material thoroughly

The most important part of any debate is to be able to get your point across. Make sure you spend plenty of time getting familiar with your material so that on the day you know it inside out. You could learn the material in your native language and then work on translating it into English. When you do this it'll be going in twice and the process will help you sharpen your skills too.

Watch debates to sharpen your listening skills

The difference between debating and a presentation is that in a debate you’ll be expected to interact with someone who is arguing a different point to yours. You can prepare for this by watching debates online. This will give you the opportunity to see how politicians and academics deliver their arguments and how they respond to their fellow debaters. YouTube is a good source for this, and Question Time on the BBC will also give you a chance to see people arguing their point.

Practice, practice, practice!

The only way to be fully prepared is to practice. Work on your phrasing and have people challenge you on your points so you're ready to argue. Rehearsing in this manner will keep you on your toes, make you work on all parts of the debate, and give you the chance to develop the points you're finding trickier.

Be aware of your tone

You know your stuff, you've prepared your material and now you're ready to debate! Some people think that the key to getting their point across is to shout, but they're wrong.

Watch the tone of your voice and volume level when emphasising the key points you want to make. You want to practise this as much as getting the language right. Watching videos and practising with others will help you learn where to put the intonation and phrase things the way you want them to come across.

Use vocabulary you're comfortable with

There's no point in taking on language that you don't fully understand as you'll struggle to get your points across, and it may knock your confidence. By all means try out words and phrases you're not familiar with, but don't use them if they’re leaving you tongue-tied. Debate with vocabulary that you're comfortable with and you've got a much better chance of success. You can always build on what you've learned for the next time!

The best way to develop English language skills is to take a course with a reputable school like ESL - Language Travel. If you want to look into this further you can find more information here.

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