Debate Speech: Outline

To help my students with their debate speeches, I decided to create a template and instructional guide to writing a debate speech. This is a basic speech outline which can be used for different types of speeches, however for this purpose it will focus on a specific debate resolution and include material specific to this topic.

Structuring a debate speech is very important for the debater but also the audience/judge. For the debater, it helps them organize their ideas and explain their arguments in a simplified and logical order. The judge or audience however is who you are speaking to. Because of this aspect, having an organized speech will do wonders with keeping the audience paying attention and listening to your speech. First, a speech is an oral form of communication which doesn’t give the listen time to re-listen to the arguments and examples. With organization and proper transitions, the speech can be easy to follow allowing the audience to understand better. Also, organization and structure demonstrate preparation and knowledge of the topic and arguments. Giving information on-the-fly is possible but not as appreciated nor easy to follow as a speech which has structure.

A debate speech has three main parts to it, similar to an essay: introduction, body, and conclusion



The introduction should include 4 main parts to be a well structured introduction. First, you should have an attention grabber. This is an interesting first sentence to the speech to grab the attention of the audience. Examples may include a quote, analogy, statistic, fact, or short story. If you think of it as fishing, you can’t catch the fish if you don’t hook it first. Second, the topic of the debate or speech should be introduced:

Today we are debating the topic/resolution…

I support/oppose the resolution…

We are here to discuss the topic of…

Third, you should provide a thesis statement. A thesis statement should explain what your position is on the topic, or more clearly, which side of the topic you are supporting in your speech.

Today we are debating the topic “Zoos do more harm than good. I believe zoos are bad for animals.

This example of introducing the resolution and thesis statement is basic but accomplishes the purpose of introducing them. The final part is previewing your arguments or main points. This transition is necessary because it prepares the listeners of what you will be saying. Remember, you can not repeat your speech afterwards for the audience to recall your information. However, with a preview of your arguments, you are able to briefly inform them of what you will say before you provide the content of your argument. The goal therefore is to not give the whole argument, but instead just the thesis statement of the argument so the audience can understand the direction you are going in the speech.

My favorite super hero Spider-man once said, “with great power comes great responsibilities.” I believe humans who have done the most damage to our earth’s environment have the responsibility to fix it. Today’s resolution is “Electric cars are the future of Korea.” I support the resolution because we need to change to more environmentally friendly technology to save our planet. I will give two arguments to support my thesis. The first argument is electric cars are cleaner than gas cars and my second argument is electric cars are becoming more popular and stylish than gas cars.


The body paragraphs are the substance of the speech. This is what the judges will listen to when they are taking notes so then they can compare the arguments at the end of the debate. Unlike the introduction, the argument you make does not need an attention grabber, but instead starts with the thesis statement. This statement is the assertion you want to make about the resolution.

Electric cars are cleaner than gas cars.

After the thesis statement, you should add a reason why the thesis statement is true. The reasons support your thesis and explain more about the argument.

Electric cars produce less Co2 emissions than gas cars which helps decrease the pollution in the air.

Then, you should have evidence to support the reasoning. Evidence is important because it provides facts and proof to the debate which helps strengthen your argument. Who sounds more credible when giving information about environmental problems? A student or a scientist?

Dr. Eco Planet in Science Daily said the more electric cars being driven than gas powered cars helps make the earth live longer and prevents the ozone radiation from expanding. (this is made up and just an example)

Finally, the most important part of the argument is the significance. This can impact the debate greatly if you show why the argument is important to the debate or to the judge. The significance of the argument should answer this question: “Why is this argument important?” This last part completes the argument and gives a reason for the judge to choose your side of the debate. It also shows the audience you understand what your argument means and can relate it to them.

This means, by switching to an electric car, you can help save the planet and protect your health from the ozone radiation.

If you are giving another argument or main point, you should transition to it and repeat the outline of the first argument. Below is an example of a full argument:

My next argument is electric cars are becoming more popular and stylish than gas cars. These days with new technology, the new item is electric and environmentally friendly automobiles. The Techno News stated the new electric cars are like the ipod when it first came out. The design was not traditional but once people began using it, the sales of the product skyrocketed. Electric cars today are the new desire in technology (again..not real evidence). This means there is no stigma attached to electric cars and instead, electric cars are the trendy option to choose from.


The conclusion of the speech is meant to provide the audience one last chance to understand what you were saying. It also demonstrates your ability to speak within time constraints and allocate your time wisely. In some instances, the conclusion may not be necessary in a speech, however for this purpose we will describe the parts of the conclusion you should try to include in every speech. First, it is good to refer back to your introduction. This includes the attention grabber and the thesis statement. Referring back to the attention grabber connects the entire speech and gives a spark to the audience’s attention because they remembered that from before. Additionally, it is important to restate your thesis statement to reaffirm to the audience your stance on the topic. Finally, you should summarize the body of your speech to present the audience one last look at the arguments they made. If a judge was not paying attention to your speech, it is good to end the speech with a last message to reaffirm your position on the topic and the arguments you present. Finally, you want to add a final concluding sentence to finish the speech. This should be similar to the attention grabber as it should leave a lasting impression in the judge’s mind.

In conclusion, it was the wise words of Spider-man, “with great power comes great responsibility.” I believe humans are responsible for fixing the problems they created to the environment. I gave two arguments to support the resolution. They were first, that electric cars are cleaner than gas cars, and also electric cars are more popular and stylish. If you want to help save the world, please support me in thinking electric cars are the future of Korea.

As previously inferred, this is not meant to be an outline for every speech or debate format. However, this is a basic layout for a speech which you will present. It can be used to portray information as an informative speech, it could be used to persuade an audience, it could even be used to describe a process of events. One thing to keep in mind is that speeches require an audience so you should thank the audience for listening to your speech. This simple gesture shows etiquette and mannerism in an organized event and could even be the weighing decision for the judge. So try to always say thank you if you can.

at the beginning: Thank you judge and audience for being here today, I would like to start my speech with a quote…

at the end: Thank you/thank you for listening.

Below is a video which includes an activity on how to make speech writing more fun and entertaining for students.


So what are your thoughts about this debate outline? Are there any suggestions?