Tuesday, March 22, 2011


You have probably noticed a strange phenomenon: sometimes a discussion can be hot and last hours, but other times barely a handful of sentences are dropped — and the talk is over, as nobody replies, let alone argues. Some blog posts collect thousands of links and comments, while other products of the same author can remain uncommented.

The skill to support the hot flame of discussion can be developed, this is why we make a Viewpoint section an essential part of our club meetings.

To cut a long story short, here are the basic rules. A speaker has 2 minutes to deliver a controversial viewpoint. His speech is aimed at splitting the audience in halves: supporters and opponents, and starting a hot dispute between them. Responders have 1 minute each to reply.

It is very important to clearly understand your stand point, and deliver it straight, with no disclaimers. There can only be black or white, and no shade. Do not try to analyse pros and cons of each side.

When you prepare a viewpoint speech, remember what causes the biggest urge to reply. I bet, nobody wants to answer a trivial question. But I want to stand up and speak up when someone is wrong. So, it is important to deliver a strong statement rather than a question.

Reading this, you may think: "Blimey, you are talking about Internet trolls!" — Right, I am! They know, how to make you boil, and extract tons of comments out of readers. Their methods are a good lesson for shy speakers, who protect each opinion with disclaimers.

So, here are my three major tips for a viewpoint speaker:
  • Pick a title that draws attention. It needs to catch their eye sights, and rise their eye brows a bit.
  • Deliver an intentionally limited, one-sided view point, which leaves no room for different mindset. Make their heart beat stronger.
  • Make a very controversial statement as a conclusion. Let the blood hammer in their temples!
Now you are ready to go. Let them release the steam. Let the debates begin!