I am coming to Verbattle for the first time. What do I need to know?
First of all, you need to know that Verbattle is a unique and challenging competition. You cannot win just with your arguments. There are many other contributing factors, most importantly your language, the way you argue, your conduct on stage, and the way the audience and the judges see you. A good argument alone cannot make you win.
Do I need to concentrate more on other things rather than the argument?
When all is said and done, Verbattle is about debate, so arguments are essential and one of the most important parts of the competition. You need to argue well, and for that you need to prepare your arguments well with your teammates. You cannot win without arguing well
Does argument mean that I need to put forth points to substantiate my side of the debate and my point of view?
No, it is also about arguing by taking into consideration your opponents’ views. In Verbattle debates you may have either one team against your statement and one arguing for the statement along with you, or you may have two teams arguing against you. Even if you have just one team against you, you need to also tackle the team that is arguing on your side. So you need to take the other two teams’ arguments into consideration and plan your argument. It is not just about standing and arguing for your side and your point of view.
Do I have to do a rebuttal in every round?
That is completely up to you. That is your choice, but a healthy mixture of your own arguments and some rebuttal and reference to others’ arguments may draw the attention of the audience and the judges.
Do I need to speak perfect English?
We don’t know anyone who can speak perfect English. Decent English is acceptable. We also know that some participants come from backgrounds with English as a second language. But the participants’ English cannot be laughable. Some mistakes here and there either as a slip of tongue or careless errors are overlooked by judges.
Do I have to be funny?
Good humor is appreciable and can pep up the argument. But humor that is either indecent, crude, or objectionable would immediately result in poor results at the judges’ desk. Some humor is perfectly acceptable.
What are the things I should avoid?
You could consider avoiding repeating lines, stopping in between your arguments, getting into a private talk with your teammate in between your argument, being loud, looking at one point all through the speech, low volume, cutting the opponents while they speak, and forgetting your points.
Should I prepare a lot?
There are no books that you can read or person you could talk to who can make you win in Verbattle. It is just you and your teammate. You need to read books, take down points, read newspapers, watch the news, talk to people, and improve the art of remembering the right things at the right time. These are more essential than just reading a lot. A wide range of knowledge can attract the audience as well as the judges’ interest.
What are the mistakes I could make?
The unpardonable mistakes are errors with facts, figures, statistics, and names. These mistakes will undoubtedly result in poor remarks.
How are judges selected in Verbattle?
We call judges from all walks of life. We want real people who have lived a life in a public space, either as leaders, managers of people, or successful professionals and entrepreneurs. We also call academics, and in some cases, we call debate and language specialists. Our purpose is to make Verbattle as realistic and current as possible. Verbattle debates deal with real issues, and we want the opinion of real people in the real world to judge it.
The judges are selected on the basis of the fact that they are
- Unbiased in their approach
- Not associated with any educational institution
- Not having any bad remarks in their career
- Sensitive and tolerant
- Patient listeners
- Not easily swayed by appeals and emotions
They are given an orientation before they set out to judge the competition. They are also given a letter from the founder spelling out what is expected of them and how they are required to judge.
We expect judges to mark subjectively. Most importantly, they are required to mark what they feel. There are no actual measurements. The marks are based on general human evaluation.
The judges watch for
Understanding the statement, knowledge in the subject, language ability, diction, accent, pronunciation, clarity, expresssion, voice, body language, attire, appearance, public skills, appeal, presentation, logic, style, points, examples, statistics, information, preparation, time management, structure of the argument, establishment of argument, team conduct and coordination, and performance
Is there a possibility that I can be the best and still lose in Verbattle?
Even one mark can make you lose. Verbattle as an organization does not normally involve itself in the marking process. If Verbattle finds disparity and glaring vagrancies in a judge’s evaluation, then the judge is spoken to and asked to reconsider their evaluation. Ultimately, it is about what the judges felt about the debate, and not what the participant or the team felt about it.
What are the desirable qualities in a participant that a judge may like?
We have noticed that simple, down-to-earth participants with good knowledge and better arguments tend to win. Judges (as we have observed) usually mark down students who show off and those who appear conceited. A sincere, well-thought-of and well-prepared argument is always a better bet.