Research your topic. You’ll need to know the general details of the topic that you’ll be expected to debate, but in particular, you should take note of specific information and figures you might use. This will help with your rational appeal in your argument, as numbers can have a powerful impact in your audience while being difficult to refute.

Conduct focused research on your topic. List the areas you feel you have strong background knowledge and any gaps in your knowledge on the topic. Try to fill in these gaps while coordinating your research with other teammates, so there is little to no overlap in your research efforts and you make the best use of your time.

Dress suitably for your debate. How you present yourself to your audience is often considered to be part of your delivery and will likely affect your scoring. Depending on the level of your competition and the expectations of those involved, the right outfit for your situation may vary. You will want to come across from the very beginning as being respectful of your audience and a respectable person, both of which can be achieved by wearing more formal clothing.

Write your speech. Once you have decided on your argument and the material you will use in it, you will need to write the speech you will use during the debate. Depending on the kind of debate and the rules your debate chapter, these can differ significantly, though every debate should have:

An unbiased introduction that presents basic information and the topic.

A body that includes an emotional point, a logical point, and an ethical point in favor of your side of the debate. You should also have examples, quotations, and statistics to strengthen your case.

A conclusion that summarizes the important points made by you and/or members of your team.

Rehearse your material. This is an important part of debate preparation. Rehearsal will help you feel more comfortable with your material, will make you more aware of your voice and body, and will help you identify problem areas.

Memorize your main points: Quick recall will allow you to respond to the oppositions points more quickly. Additionally, memorization will put information vital to your argument/counterargument at your disposal. Demonstrating your quick wit can earn you points with your judges and put you ahead of your opponents

Speak in a clear voice. You will need to assess the environment in which the debate is held before you can know which speaking volume will be most effective. If there is a mic you are expected to use, you should check its volume before beginning your speech. Smaller rooms can benefit from a warm, conversational tone, while large presentation halls may require a louder than normal speaking voice.

Take notes during the oppositions time. For you to properly refute inaccurate information, rebut a point, or address a counterargument, you will need to address specific points in your opposition’s case. Check the other team’s statistics against your own and jot down any information that seems false, incomplete, or mis-portrayed.

Show your negative points in a positive light. Framing can drastically change the way information is interpreted by an audience, and if you have the last word, framing can be an effective tool to change a negative opinion to a positive one. You may want to re-frame the obvious counterexamples that the opposition is likely to use, so that you have a strong refutation partially prepared.

The point, “School uniforms restrict students’ individuality,” might be re-framed, “School uniforms prevent individuality from negatively impacting the learning of all students.”

Argue your proposition with conviction. For your proposition to be accepted, you will need to convince the jury that your plan (motion) is the way to go. This will require you to defend it against the opposition while making points in favour of your proposition

Culled from Wikipedia