by Jim Hanson and Diana Thompson

Although Parli is considered a spontaneous event, being prepared for anything helps you handle the unexpected. Listed are some bizarre situations and suggestions on how to handle each circumstance. Each is only a suggestion. You may have a better strategy. J

1. Someone stands up for a Point of Information and refuses to sit down even after the Speaker says "No Thank You."

o      Try a nice heckle, "If you listen better standing up, you are more than welcome to stand . . ."

2. During a speech, the speaker’s colleague hands the speaker a note.

o      Consider coughing, stand up for a Point of Information (NOT a point of order) to encourage the judge to look up and notice what is going on.

3. A judge heckles a competitor from the other team.

o      Do not join in, it could happen to you.

o      Smile, chuckle.

o      Take note that the judge does not like that argument and use it to your advantage. For example, in the next speech “My opponent argued that xxx (the argument the judge heckled). This is obviously not a good argument.” Don’t overdo this though as your judge might see an overkill.

4. Your judge asks a Point of Information.

o      Take it – if she or he is confused, clarify the argument.

o      Watch out for malicious judges who try to throw you off.

a. Don’t let it bother you. Relax--getting nervous and defensive isn’t going to help. Think of the judge’s question positively--as an opportunity to further bolster your case rather than as an attack. If you need to, take a breath and then go with your answer.
b. Maintain your position and try to address the argument that the judge is raising.
c. Sometimes, making jokes (respectful of the judge) are helpful here.

5. A member of your audience raises for a Point of Information.

o      Remember, an audience member can not win the round.

o      This could start a nasty trend, you do not want to debate your entire audience.

o      Be nice about it, say "not at this time." Avoid antagonizing the crowd.

o      Another way to do this is to say “I’ll be taking three questions. If the opposition has no problem with this, I will take your question as one of the three.”

6. Someone is taking too long to ask a question (more than 15 seconds).

o      Cut them off politely – "I believe I understand what you are saying, here is my response . . ."

o      At 15 seconds, state “NPDA rules limit the time you can take from my speech for asking a question. Here’s my response to what you have said . . .”

o      Overtly look at your watch.

o      NEVER let someone ask for more than 20 seconds. This kills your speaking time otherwise.

7. Someone "Shames" you.

o      Turn the heckle around. For example, someone shamed your appeal about dying babies (an obvious ploy to tug at the judge’s heartstrings). Repeat the "shame" in your response: "Yes, it is a SHAME children are dying of starvation because…"

o      Do not get dragged into a "shame-war." If you are repeatedly heckled, put a shame down once, effectively, to show you are in control and ignore the rest (the "shamer" will end up looking like a jerk).

o      DO NOT LET HECKLING BOTHER YOU. Practice speaking with people heckling, booing, hissing, and shaming you while you ignore them and keep arguing.

8. A member of the opposition is heckling you and refuses to shut up.

o      Heckle them about respect. "Sir/Madame, I respected your time to speak, I know you want to respect mine."

o      If the heckling continues but it is not too loud, just persevere--the judge will almost definitely feel sympathetic with you.

o      If the heckling is so loud and won’t stop, request that the judge halt the heckling.

 9. What to argue if you hit an Example Case - a case with a list of examples to prove the resolution true.

         Ex: This house believes all is fair in love and war.

Lists 8 examples.

How to Counter

1.    Determine the points behind the examples. Discuss how the examples do not support the resolution.

2.    After explaining the theory, disprove their point and provide your own.

10. What to argue if hit an “Incoherent” Case – a bunch of rambling statements without any rhyme or reason. It just does not make any sense.

How to Counter:

1.    Ask leading questions - "and this applies to the resolution how…"

2.    In your speech, explain why their points are confused (if you are befuddled, odds are your judge is just as confused as you).

3.    Be NICE - do not be a jerk, the other team may be doing their best. The last thing you want to do is make someone cry!!

4.    Spend time evaluating the resolution and burdens (what does each side have to prove to win). Be very clear!

5.    Explain the Burden of Proof of the Government Team – the Gov. must provide reasons to uphold the resolution, failure to do so renders an Opposition ballot.

6.    Present arguments separate from responses to the government case as to why you win the round.