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Howdy, Partner

Partner Relations in Parli

Partners...perhaps the most valuable asset in parliamentary debate. This post outlines several tips for how to set yourself and your partner up for success!

1. Specialize in speaker roles

In most successful partnerships, one partner goes prime minister or leader of opp ninety percent of the time, while the other goes member. Strategically speaking, this can give you and your partner an edge, as you will be most familiar with the structure and argumentation style of the speeches that you deliver.

2. BUT: familiarize with both speaker roles

Regardless, it is important that you are comfortable with both speaker roles. After all, there may come a time when the member is more familiar with the case or resolution than the leader, and it is necessary that the partners can comfortably switch roles to optimize success.

3. What if one partner is stronger?

More oftentimes than not, you can expect to be partnered with a weaker debater at some point in your debate experience. This is a good thing! Your coach wants you to teach your partner how to be equally successful in the activity. So the question you assign your inexperienced partner as leader or member? There are two schools of thought:

a. Leader

Have your partner go leader! The member speech is the most important

speech of the round. You both rebuild your case and refute your opponents.

They tend to be the most convincing. Have your partner introduce your case

and summarize the round: the true content will come out in yours.

b. Member

Have your partner go member! The leader gets far more speaking time, so it

will be easier to dominate the round.


No matter what, remember this: your partner is your most valuable asset! Two brains are always better than one. Learning how to effectively communicate and work in a team, especially under pressure, will be a skill that you will be able to carry with you for the rest of your life.

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