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Public Policy Class 2013.  A key educational outcome for this course is the acquired ability to advise and counsel policymakers and administrators on.

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Presentation on theme: "Public Policy Class 2013.  A key educational outcome for this course is the acquired ability to advise and counsel policymakers and administrators on."— Presentation transcript:

1 Public Policy Class 2013

2  A key educational outcome for this course is the acquired ability to advise and counsel policymakers and administrators on the design, implementation, evaluation, & selection of competing public policy choices  Those choices are often influenced by debate and discussion both internally and in the community and with/among stakeholders - whether it is a scheduled formal public policy debate or an informal discussion or an unscheduled debate, you need the ability to identify, analyze, and address major arguments pro and con and effectively advocate for a specific public policy position  Might be an internal staff discussion or community meeting or a formal scheduled debate (like the I2 debates)  Debate formats can range from the informal to the formal – they can be scheduled or impromptu (extemporaneous speaking)  Formal debate formats can vary in type – could be Lincoln-Douglas (one on one) or Team (2 teams of 2)

3 Key elements of a debate  Resolution – the proposition to be proven or disproven – the focus of the debate – the source of the clash – affirmative upholds, supports & defends and negative attacks, undermines, & disproves  Opening statements – establish rapport with the audience – identify and summarize all key arguments for your position – potentially pre-empt opposition arguments  The constructive speech section represents the opportunity to advance all key arguments in favor or opposition to the resolution.  The cross examination period involves the chance to query the opposing side to obtain more information, clarify a point or “narrow a loose contention” made by the other side (Rusher, 1981), or elicit an answer which is beneficial to the questioner.  The rebuttal portion of the debate is utilized to address issues raised during debate, refute key arguments made by the opposing side, and reinforce persuasive points in favor of your side’s position.  Closing statement – reinforce, refute, re-summarize, & close the sale

4 Sample format (Lincoln-Douglas – 2 Speakers):  Affirmative Opening Statement 3 minutes  Negative Opening Statement3 minutes  Affirmative Constructive6 minutes  Cross-Examination by Negative3 minutes  Negative Constructive6 minutes  Cross-Examination by Affirmative3 minutes  Affirmative Rebuttal4 minutes  Negative Rebuttal4 minutes  Closing Statement by Affirmative2 minutes  Closing Statement by Negative2 minutes

5 Rusher’s Strategies for Success (1985): 1. Decide Your Purpose – Objective selects strategy – is the objective to win now or set the stage to win in the long run – is it winning on cold logic or winning over the audience? 2. Size Up The Opposition – his or her attitude towards the subject and you, his or her strengths and weaknesses both in argument content and speaking style, and his or her present mood – will you be guiding a friend to a better position or arguing against an old and intransigent foe? Be careful about hammering the opponent so much you create audience sympathy for him or her or that you hurt an ongoing relationship with them. 3. Be prepared! Know your case better than anyone else – strengths, weaknesses, points you can or should concede. How and what will your opponent argue – how will they attack your case? Know all key arguments pro and con, the response and rebuttals to each, and the supporting data and evidence for each argument. 4. Argument content/strategy – will you win by arguing to principle or based on the totality and quality of your facts or both ?

6 Rusher’s Strategies for Success (1985): 5. Ask questions! You may be given a formal opportunity to ask questions within the debate format or you have an informal opportunity to do so Cross examination – “greatest engine ever invented for the discovery of the truth” Purposes of asking questions in a debate: 1) Gain more information 2) Gain an admission to be exploited in later argument – not a Perry Mason moment! 3) Cause the opponent to clarify their position which can be helpful to you 4) Gain confirmatory evidence too be used in later argument. Know your purpose with each question. Know the answer before asking – know how your opponent will likely respond. Avoid self inflicted injuries as the questioner or respondent. Develop questions in advance although one might arise during the debate. Manage your cross-examination – don’t let it get away from you – don’t let the respondent drive it (you do!) - clock is ticking – make sure it serves your objectives.

7 Rusher’s Strategies for Success (1985): 6. Make eye contact – create and sustain a strong and positive relationship with your audience 7. Be courteous – avoid being a jerk – we want to like the winner too – you are the message (Ailes) 8. Employ overstatement and understatement – both serve the same purpose – to emphasize your central point 9. When you make a mistake, admit it promptly and then move on – don’t ignore it or defend it (stop digging)

8 Saviak Strategies for Winning Debates - CONTENT  What’s my communications objective? AAB - Inform an uninformed audience – create a favorable audience opinion towards my position – inform, obtain favorable attitude, and inspire them to action (e.g. vote a specific way on the issue)? Am I winning over a neutral audience? Protecting and preserving already favorable audience opinion? Dealing with a potentially hostile audience?  Objective influences selection debate strategy and tactics  Know your case and your opponent’s case better than anyone else  Each specific section of the debate serves a specific purpose – make sure that objective is achieved at that time – opening, constructive, cross ex, rebuttal, closing – reinforce and refute in rebuttal, summarize in closing, gain valuable admissions in cross ex to exploit during argument  Use both head and heart arguments – logic and emotion – evidence and examples – numbers and narrative – statistics plus a story to humanize the issue – policy arguments plus a personal story (Kellerman)

9 Saviak Strategies for Winning Debates – CONTENT  Research Matters – evidence wins debates! Make full use of available evidence/statistics/research to support your arguments – be correct about your facts! Although you do not verbally read a list of all citations/references, use multiple sources of research to support each major point (as opposed to continually using a single source to support multiple points – which your opponent is likely to point out for the audience who may then question why you only have a single source)  Your major points must be fully developed and fully explained at the appropriate time – start, explain, and finish each key point - no backing up and starting over again on the same argument 3 minutes later (finish it the first time) – no drive-bys - don’t conceal or hide major points with insufficient treatment, time, and development - bring clarity not visit confusion upon your audience – don’t make them work or fight to find and understand your point - make sure the audience learns what they need to know – make sure the issue is given sufficient treatment and properly articulated and explained

10 Saviak Strategies for Winning Debates - AUDIENCE  It’s all about your audience! (not about you or your opponent)  Audience influences communications objectives and communications strategies – am I preaching to the converted or am I engaging a potentially hostile audience – is my audience uninformed or apathetic about this issue? Research your audience – like any other communications campaign, research identifies objectives, objectives select strategy, strategy drives tactics, we implement and evaluate  Just because it is a debate does not mean the audience arrives neutral on the issue!  Know your audience – how do they think – how do they talk – what are their values – what do they know now on this issue - what is their self interest relating to this topic?

11 Saviak Strategies for Winning Debates - AUDIENCE  Focus on your audience not your opponent – you are trying to win them over not convince your opponent  Given your audience, can you identify the barriers to successful communication and do you have a strategy to defeat them?  Depending on the communications objective, the level of difficulty and required effort/resources will increase – awareness is relatively easy compared to action (simply informing your audience) – creating a positive image (they have a favorable attitude towards you & your position) which is presently undefined in the audience mind is more work but is doable if done right even in the face of competing arguments but the toughest assignment is reversing a widely or deeply held negative perceptions (at the outset, your audience is inclined to disagree with you or is potentially/actually hostile to your position)

12 Saviak Strategies for Winning Debates - AUDIENCE  It may or may not be the perfect audience or the audience you want but it’s the audience you’ve got so work with them!  Build and sustain a strong, genuine, and positive rapport with your audience from start to finish – it is a relationship you must create and manage – don’t oversell and hurt your credibility – stay likable even when disagreeing with your opponent – maintain trust & credibility  Know your audience – appeal to their interests with your arguments  Know your audience – how informed are they at the start of the debate? Make sure you don’t assume a knowledge base – explain key concepts and terms as needed - people are unlikely to embrace a position they did not truly understand  Know your audience – what attitudes, beliefs, and values might they be bringing to this debate and how should you structure and deliver your arguments accordingly? Craft and deliver arguments which factor in audience perceptions and beliefs – utilize and build upon them when you can – never ignore them hoping they will just go away.

13  We may find ourselves at a debate where the audience did not arrive truly neutral – they are already predisposed not to believe us or our agency or support our position – they may arrive with perceptions and beliefs which will get in the way of accepting and acting upon our message as we would like them to do – Can we still win? Yes!  Generally speaking, human beings do not seek out opportunities to be told they are wrong – it produces discomfort (it’s an emotional tax/a psychic penalty we want to avoid) but communicators often find themselves in this situation  There are ways to assist your audience in letting go of incorrect assumptions (defeating cognitive dissonance – Festinger) – do it in ways that make them feel it is OK to change positions  Now, no one ever won a debate by spending their entire time blasting their audience as “dead wrong” – this approach fails to make the sale and offends the customer in the process too! That’s not the way to do this.

14 Saviak Strategies for Winning Debates - AUDIENCE 3 tools to defeat cognitive dissonance (Festinger): 1)Make the audience aware that circumstances have changed 2)Provide information about new developments 3)Use of an unexpected spokesperson  People often want to be validated not educated – affirmed not corrected – so its challenging to reverse audience beliefs/perceptions - it’s challenging to make people come to feel it was OK about initially being wrong but it can be done – know your audience – just ignoring the influence of audience assumptions/perceptions/ideology which can undermine your message will likely cause your communication to fail  Keynes – “When my information changes, I alter my conclusions”

15 Saviak Strategies for Winning Debates - AUDIENCE  Identify and defeat incorrect assumptions/narratives/ideology or you will not be successful & do it in ways which will work!  Communicate in ways which recognizes these potential obstacles and makes it acceptable and easier for your audience to discard incorrect assumptions and accept your message – select content and delivery they can accept!  Identify and defeat objections to make the sale.  Pay attention to the audience during the debate – you can’t conduct a survey on the spot and you are not a mind reader but are they buying what you are selling or do you need to shift gears?

16 Saviak Strategies for Winning Debates - CONTENT  Debates require clash – this is why we employ resolutions so both debaters focus on the same issue – it’s not a debate if it’s really two separate speeches instead of advancing competing views on the same issue  Being affirmative or negative matters to your strategy and tactics – you can win on the same issue arguing either way but there’s a different approach to each - affirmative supports/upholds the resolution – negative attacks and undermines the resolution – negative has a strategic choice to make: 1) attack only or 2) attack and offer an alternative solution – if the alternative solution is superior, that can be a winning strategy BUT the risk is the affirmative may then become the negative and effectively replace the resolution by making the debate a referendum on the negative’s alternative solution and tearing it down  In policy debates, affirmative often sells benefits - here’s what the audience gets by supporting the resolution – for example, a better economy  To counter the proposed policy, negative orchestrates “the parade of horribles” - all the bad things that will happen if government implements that public policy choice  If your opponent left a major argument you made or a painful question you raised about their case unaddressed, remind your audience of this key fact during your closing statement – the silence of my opponent on this issue must mean they concede that I am right on this point.

17 Saviak Strategies for Winning Debates - DELIVERY  Visual communications matter too – you are the message and you are always on stage – pay attention to and coordinate for maximum impact your eye contact, hand gestures, facial expressions & body language – how you say it and what you look like when saying it can help or hurt your case – poise and confidence helps - your audience will never be more enthusiastic about your arguments than you are!  Voice matters – pay attention and optimize the impact of your tone, pace, and volume  Dress to impress  Be an enthusiastic advocate but also manage your own emotions (debaters are human too – don’t let your feelings get in your way or distract/offend your audience)

18 Saviak Strategies for Winning Debates - DELIVERY  Know the rules and follow the format – adhere to time limits – they won’t be changing the rules for you  Know if there’s a moderator or not and factor that in  Less can be more – identify and advance your best arguments – the clock is ticking & time goes by quickly – you won’t have time to make 20 different arguments nor would you want to do so – prioritize your points for maximum impact  Be disciplined as a debater  You must be understood in real time – don’t make your audience hunt for your point – make sure your arguments and evidence are readily and easily understood by your audience - don’t rush – timing matters – use of strategic pauses

19 Saviak Strategies for Winning Debates- DELIVERY  Stay organized and on message!  Argue and advocate don’t read! Reading breaks the relationship with your audience – ends eye contact, voice goes flat, hand gestures decline, and audience interest decreases.  Talk in sentences not paragraph – active voice not passive increases interest and optimizes time.  If you are going to physically handle anything during a debate – a visual aid or note cards – practice using them before the debate – get comfortable and confident – work out technical/operational issues prior to the debate (maybe I have too many papers on the podium with me – need to make sure chart can be seen by audience or it’s within the camera shot) – you don’t want to have technical problems during a debate or do something distracting or waste time

20 Saviak Strategies for Winning Debates- DELIVERY  If allowed under debate rules, visual aids (PPT, chart, graph, flip chart, etc.) can definitely help  If using a visual aid, make sure you need it and it helps achieve your specific objective – strengths & limitations to visual devices – they are often situation and topic-specific – make sure your visual display of data actually helps you – your audience needs to be able to understand the chart or graph and be able to find and see the point you are making from it  Visual must match the verbal – any visual aid you use or visual image you create in the minds of your audience must match your words – they cannot compete or conflict – they must complement and support each other

21 Saviak Strategies for Winning Debates- DELIVERY  Make sure your arguments are structured and organized – easy to mentally follow – there is a nice logical flow – points are sequenced – your audience can follow along where you are taking them - create patterns of thought – use mental scaffolding  Persuasion is a process – repeat and reinforce key points to ensure audience understanding and acceptance  Do NOT violate the time tested rules/proven principles of effective communication - the rules are relatively simple to follow but it never ceases to amaze how they are violated by people who should know better but stopped believing that the rules apply to them  Deliver on promises made to your audience! (or you can expect your opponent to remind the audience that you did not during his or her closing)  Practice, practice, and practice! Can practice both individually and as a mock debate in advance of the real deal. Can improve content & delivery. First practice will produce significant improvement – second will refine and strengthen – if it happens during practice, it’s not a mistake – will build confidence and make for a stronger and more crisp and effective delivery.


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