How Debate Creates Leaders & Effective Communicators

Coach Andy
Post by Coach Andy
How Debate Creates Leaders & Effective Communicators

What are the Benefits of Debate? Communication and Leadership Skills!

According to multiple surveys, recruitment organizations and CEOs, the most important skill that the young learners of today will need to master is – communication & leadership skills.

More than even leadership skills or problem-solving, communication skills are seen as a “silver bullet” that can unlock all sorts of other potential in young employees – as well as smoothing the path to a successful and rewarding career in any number of fields.

As artificial intelligence (AI) and other technological advances lead to more and more workplace tasks being automated, the importance of communication skills will only increase in the coming decades. It will be more important than ever for young graduates to be able to demonstrate their ability to think critically and communicate clearly.

How Does Learning Debate Help Communication Skills?

Speech and debate learning has all sorts of beneficial outcomes for communication skills. Here are some of the ways in which learning debate can help:

  • Polished Presentations. Critical thinking & communication skills enable you to structure your thoughts and organize your slides, handouts or other listener-facing materials into a delightful & inspiring presentation!
  • Confident Communication. Debate and public speaking help build heightened self-confidence. We’ve seen it time and again in LearningLeaders classes. Debate classes encourage students to share their opinions and teaches young people that their point of view is valuable and worth listening to.
  • Lead For Life. The communication skills that we teach help to prepare students to learn and lead for life. Studies demonstrate that debate participants see a clear change to their own self-perception as leaders. Simply put, learning to harness your speaking skills to persuade others of your point of view is a major step towards having the confidence to take leadership positions in your future academic and business career.
  • Teamwork Makes The Dream Work. Yes, it’s a cliché, but teamwork is vital in so many walks of life – and is absolutely crucial in debate. Teamwork & relational skills are amongst the top four most frequently cited perks of debate!

Anecdotally, parents of LearningLeaders students notice increased confidence in their children after just a few months learning speech or debate. The ability to express your ideas in front of their peers is a “eureka!” moment for many young people in our classes.

Less confident students are often reluctant to speak up in school classes for fear of making a mistake. In speech or debate classes, by contrast, there are no “right” or “wrong” answers to topics. Instead, we encourage students simply to share and explain their ideas.

Building confidence in being able to participate in group discussions and present your ideas to others is made easier when you are equipped with the skills to do it. According to a 2016 study of students in the UAE:

137 female Emirati students were taught the basics of debate and then participated in a debate session on a topic of general interest. Results show that participants observe a clear change in how they perceive themselves as leaders as a result of the [debate] intervention.

How Does Learning Debate Help Teamwork?

Debating is almost always a team activity. Novice debaters sometimes try to get the highest scores by “hoarding” all the best arguments for themselves or trying to take the star role in a debate, but they quickly learn that there is no benefit in getting a high personal score if they lose the debate as a result of poor teamwork.

Instead, debates are won by those who work together well. Debaters have to learn to work with teammates from different backgrounds and they have to put their ego to one side. Debates can be pressure situations and the teamwork lessons that students take from group preparation under pressure will stay with them forever.

Speech, Debate and Leadership

Many political and business leaders around the world have been active and successful debaters at school or college. National leaders like John F. Kennedy from the United States, and Lee Kuan Yew from Singapore, debated in their youth. Countless business leaders and CEOs honed their skills in public speaking and debate as teenagers. And multiple US Supreme Court justices were successful college debaters in their youth. Even Brad Pitt has a couple of debate trophies from his high school days!


Communication skills are vital for success in our modern economy, and debate is one of the very best ways to equip young learners with these abilities. Whether it’s being able to present clearly and confidently, learning teamwork, showing leadership or more, debate gives young people lifelong skills that will help them learn – and lead – for life.

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Coach Andy
Post by Coach Andy