How Do You Write an Opening Statement for a Debate?

To write an opening statement for a debate, use facts gained from research to support the team’s point of view. Demonstrate that the opposing argument is wrong while remaining polite.

In debates, one team, called the affirmative or pro side, defends a certain proposition, and the opposing team, also known as the negative or con side, argues against the proposition. Usually, a debate starts with an opening speech from the affirmative team, followed by questioning by the negative team. Then the negative team presents their opening statement, which is followed by questioning by the affirmative team. Two closing statements end the debate.

  1. Research the topic
  2. Gather facts about the topic being debated. Collect supporting evidence from three to five reliable sources of information.
  3. State the argument and support it with facts
  4. Write down the team’s opinion on the debated topic. Then list the facts that support this point of view, quoting the sources. Make sure the opening statement sounds logical, with each argument flowing naturally from one to another. Include evidence that undermines the opponents’ position. Aim for 1 to 3 minutes in length.
  5. Follow the rules of the debate
  6. In the opening statement, avoid personal attacks and inflammatory statements. Remain polite to the other side and respectful toward the people and issues mentioned in the statement. Write in clear, grammatically correct English.