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The Judge: Friend or Foe?

One of the keys to winning in debate involves making judgments about the judge and then trying to understand them. See your message as they will see it, not as you perceive it. Evaluate your ideas and strategies based on their perspective, not your own. Remember their job is to vote on the best team as they see it.

Realize that a judge is always:

PERCEIVED ROLE TYPES FOR JUDGES

This is a very simplistic way to categorize judges. However, it does help understand a few of the variables. The type is set by the role the judge sees itself in. All judges deserve our respect and our effort to adapt to what it is they are looking for no matter how bad they are. Being able to adapt to different audiences will help you all throughout your life.

TYPE A - JUDGE OF ACADEMIC DEBATE CONTEST

This is the kind of judge we prepare for. The judge is open minded about debate, works hard during the round, wants to make an unbiased decision, and has decent knowledge of the topic and debate procedures. Always appear knowledgeable, friendly, polite, and most of all donít insult their intellegence by talking down to them like their children. You may know more about the subject but rubbing that in their face is the smart thing to do.

TYPE B - EDUCATOR COACH OF LEARNING DEBATES

All judges are there to educate, but Type A does it through making a good decision. This judge wants to "teach you" something and you had better be ready to learn. This judge is generally a former debater or a teacher who also coaches debate. They may have not judged in a while or at your level. Donít try to pull anything because they will see right through it. Be professional and follow the rules of debate because they probably know more about them then you do.

TYPE C - ESTEEMED JUDGE OF ENTERTAINING DEBATES

All judges like to be entertained in the round, but Type C expects you to put on a show that they will enjoy, and thus call it a "good debate." This is often a lay judge ("Here's a ballot, go judge a debate").Make the round enjoyable and make yourself look articulate and you can win. Some tips on winning is to be passionate put on a show, forgot jargon use plain English, make a good impression, and avoid arguing technicalities like definitions it is just a boring waste of time with this judge.