Easing the Transition to Online Speech & Debate

By Jen Quach

In spite of the pandemic, the debate goes on. However, with uncontrollable factors including a bad internet connection or distractions at home, competitors now have to adapt to a new form of debate. Thus, it’s important to understand how to efficiently make this transition to an online format:

Before the competition:

Preparation… 
- Ensure that zoom is correctly installed on your device and is updated. 
- Test your technology a couple days prior to the competition to ensure there will be no unpredictable disruptions. 
- Practice giving speeches or hosting debates with your team through zoom to adapt to the online format quicker. 
- Use earbuds or headphones if necessary. 

Environment… 
- Find a location where you are comfortable competing in. This will enhance your speaking and critical thinking ability.
- Make sure you are close to the router.
- Choose a location with a subtle background so the main focus will be on you.
- Have a charger and timer near you at all times.
- Ensure that the lighting isn’t too bright or too dark, as this can lower the quality of your screen. Do not position yourself in front of any light sources such as windows or lamps. 

Competition day:

Faced with a screen, competitors may find it hard to accomplish one of the most vital aspects of a good execution: projecting their voice. Your environment plays a major role in your success. 

Set up… 
- Try to limit the amount of devices connected to your wifi. This will improve the quality of your zoom.
- Center yourself on the camera with the upper half of your body visible for gestures. Sit further away from the screen if necessary.
- Close any unnecessary tabs and open the ones that you will primarily be working on.