The secret to a clear speech? Signposting.

Post by Tom Cronin
March 9, 2023
The secret to a clear speech? Signposting.

What is Signposting?

Signposting is the practice of explicitly stating the main points of an argument before or after presenting them. It helps the audience understand the structure of the argument and follow the flow of the debate, with the ultimate goal of persuading them. Signposting can be done in various ways, such as using transition phrases or summarizing the main points of the argument.

Why is Signposting Important?

Signposting is important in debates for several reasons:

  • Clarity: Signposting helps debaters present their arguments in a clear and organized manner. It makes it easier for the audience to follow the flow of the debate and understand the key points of the arguments.
  • Engagement: Signposting helps keep the audience engaged in the debate. By providing a clear structure, the audience can anticipate the next point and stay focused on the argument.
  • Persuasion: Signposting can also be used to persuade the audience of the strength of the argument. By explicitly stating the main points of the argument, the audience can see the logical progression of the argument and be more convinced of its validity.

Let's take a look at quick signposting example, shall we?

An example of signposting in a debate about climate change could be:

"Firstly, I will discuss the impact of fossil fuels on the environment. Secondly, I will explore the role of corporations in contributing to climate change. Finally, I will propose solutions for reducing carbon emissions and mitigating the effects of climate change."

In this example, the debater uses transition phrases ("firstly," "secondly," and "finally") to introduce the main points of their argument and make the structure of the argument clear. This makes it easier for the audience to follow the flow of the debate and understand the key points of the argument.

Tips for Signposting in Debates

Here are some tips for mastering the skill of signposting in debates:

  • Use transition phrases: Transition phrases, such as "firstly," "secondly," and "finally," can be used to introduce the main points of the argument and make the structure of the argument clear.
  • Summarize main points: After presenting an argument, summarize the main points to make it easier for the audience to follow the argument.
  • Use visual aids: Visual aids, such as diagrams or charts, can be used to illustrate the structure of the argument and make it easier for the audience to understand.
  • Use repetition: Repetition can be used to reinforce the main points of the argument and make them more memorable for the audience.
  • Practice: Like any skill, signposting takes practice. Use mock debates to practice signposting and get feedback from other debaters or coaches.

Conclusion

Signposting is a crucial skill in debates that helps debaters present their arguments in a clear and organized manner. It is important for engaging the audience, persuading them of the strength of the argument, and making the debate more memorable. By using transition phrases, summarizing main points, using visual aids, using repetition, and practicing, debaters can master the skill of signposting and become more effective communicators. So now you know how to signpost in speech & debate - good luck in your next debate!

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Post by Tom Cronin
March 9, 2023

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