How to write an opening statement for a debate
How to write an opening speech
Following the writing of a resolution, students should prepare speeches. Speeches must be planned in order to be effective. Speaking “off the cuff” is necessary, especially during points of information, but the ultimate aim is for all participants in the debate to speak freely using only their notes to guide them.
It is recommended to write out a speech in full ahead of time and put it to memory but not recommended to read a speech word for word.
The object of a speech is to persuade and even convince others and not merely to state an opinion. In some cases, a nation’s policy may place a student in a position where he must defend the indefensible and cannot be expected to persuade a majority to support him. In preparing speeches, students must be aware not only of their strengths and weaknesses, but also be aware of the points to be made by others. It is advisable to list arguments and counter-arguments so students will be in a position to defend their views as well as make proposals.
Remember: a speech is heard only once and, therefore, needs to leave a strong impression. The audience will remember the important parts of a speech that is short, clear and well structured than if they have to listen to a long, confusing, and rambling one. The key elements to an effective speech include the following:
- The most important points are arranged in ascending order with the final point a climax. Numbering the points is helpful to the speaker in delivering the speech and to the audience in remembering it. Use a key word or phrase for each argument and repeat the main points before yielding the floor.
The advanced speaker has taken the next steps in preparing his techniques in delivery. Besides building repetitions, using catch phrases and rhetorical pauses, he has worked out his stance (firm, dogmatic, ironic, conciliatory, etc.), the image he wants to project (idealistic, revolutionary, moderate, etc.), and the appropriate level of language needed for the role he is assuming. The MUN Director can help in the selection of appropriate terminology, phraseology and vocabulary in this aspect of speech making in the classroom.
Speakers should deliver their speeches in a clear, loud voice. Every speech should have an obvious beginning, e.g. “Madame Chairwoman, ladies and gentlemen, the delegate is in favor of this resolution because. ” followed by arguments that are to the point, and an obvious ending, e.g. “Therefore, I urge the House to vote in favor of this resolution. I will now yield to points of information.” Points of information must be phrased in the form of a question, but that does not imply that they are used to elicit information from the speaker. In many cases, they are used rhetorically in order to express an opinion when one does not have the floor or to support or disconcert the speaker who does have the floor, e.g. “Does the speaker not agree that the recent strike against unarmed civilians in Iraq can only be regarded as murder?”
The speaker who has the floor should not allow himself to be put off by points of information. He can, however, take the opportunity to reply to the question in any way he chooses, either re-emphasizing his points earlier or using the question as a springboard to launch into another argument. Points of information should never be answered by a simple “yes” or “no” which would be a wasted opportunity. It is during this stage of answering points of information that the
debate is the liveliest, so students should be encouraged to answer points which arise and not simply yield the floor after delivering their prepared speech.
Opening speeches take about one minute to present. Its purpose is to introduce the country and to give a very brief introduction to the issue discussed in their resolution as well as the country’s perspective regarding other issues that will be debated within the caucus.
Sample Persuasive Speech
Good morning delegates of the house and chairperson. My name is -------- and along with ------, I represent -----------. Today our delegation is here to discuss one of the most aggravating issues in the world. It is a great concern to our people, and we are sure that it is a great concern to the entire world as well – we are here to discuss the HIV virus, most commonly known as AIDS.
As all of you are aware, ----------- suffers from a tremendous lack of health care, which accelerates the population’s death rate. The HIV/AIDS is affecting 1.1 million people in the country. This disease is most commonly transmitted by women that are raped by members of armed groups in eastern -------. Survivors of rape are frequently abandoned by their families and communities; therefore they are forced to leave their homes and are left in poverty.
Women are three times as likely to be living with HIV/AIDS as young man, and within the next ten years, more than half of the population will be threatened by it. It will also have a catastrophic future affect on the health of the country.
Due to its history of so many civil wars, diseases and death rates are always increasing in -----------. The widespread destruction of homes and hospitals has left children without families and many people with sicknesses and injuries. Because of the country’s poverty, state health facilities offer no treatment for HIV/AIDS other than voluntary tests and council.
The HIV/AIDS virus acts as a significant brake on the economic growth and development of the country, since the people affected are forced to leave their jobs.
The -------- is so devastated and it needs so much more than it already has to become a society where health and well being is a priority.
For this reason we urge all delegates of the house to vote in favor of our resolution.
Thank you for your attention.
Sample Opening Speech
Good Morning Chair People, delegates of the house. My name is ------ and along with ----------, I represent----------. We are here today, in another United Nations conference, such as the one that created our country.
We hope that the present delegations will engage only to fruitful debates, in order to make this conference productive and relevant. Let’s all take wise decisions after considering every resolution. Bear in mind that the U.N. was created to make a better world and not to satisfy an individual will.
We’d like to share with you, our preoccupation regarding ------- resolution. It is a fact that nuclear weapons are not yet proved to exist, however suspicions are strong. It is not acceptable that a country that can threaten the existence of another one to even have the slightest possibility of producing nuclear weapons. This is an outrage!
Nonetheless the -------- resolution wants nothing more than to protect all of us, so, -------- is in favor and supports this resolution that will, finally, request respect and consideration to all the people from the ----------.
Let’s all have a wise purpose here!
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