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Debating in real life: do you feel nervous?





loyal
Hey all,
I find that when I debate an issue with someone on the internet, my body is detached from the atmosphere of the debate, so I feel normal. However when I debate an issue with someone in real life, adrenaline pumps through me, and I feel nervous and weird. Anyone else get that? How can I combat this?
jilbs
loyal wrote:
Hey all,
I find that when I debate an issue with someone on the internet, my body is detached from the atmosphere of the debate, so I feel normal. However when I debate an issue with someone in real life, adrenaline pumps through me, and I feel nervous and weird. Anyone else get that? How can I combat this?


start building your confidence. just bear mind it's just a debate, don't take the debate to seriously otherwise it will consume your soul. Very Happy just kidding. debate over the internet is the same as debate in real life. The only difference is that in real life, the person is in front of you not over the monitors.

Be confident Smile
saratdear
Same problem with me. Smile I get all jittery as well.

I think the main advantage of online debate is that you get to compose a well thought out message.
Bikerman
1. Practice
The first time I stood in front of a class I was nearly sick. People underestimate how much bottle it takes to be the sole centre of attention for 20,30,50,100 people. It gets easier. You learn strategies to deal with it- and then you get to enjoy it. It can be quite a buzz commanding the attention of a group of people.

2. Prepare.
I have a rule of thumb - 2 hours prep for 1 hour teaching. I don't spend 2 hours on each hour I teach, of course, otherwise I would be working 120 hours per week before marking and other duties. The first time I teach something however, then I do spend about that amount of time preparing - sometimes much more.

3. Anticipate.
What could go wrong? If it is a lesson then what could bollox it up? If it is a debate then switch sides mentally and think-up the most powerful case you can for the opponent. Then prepare to counter that case. Do your research - if your opponent is known then you may be able to spot the sort of arguments they use, the sort of debating tactics they adopt.

4. Overdo it.
Allow between 2 and 3 times as much material as you think you will use. One thing I notice in many students I mentor is that they hugely overestimate just how fast that clock ticks when you have a 40 minute lesson to deliver. They frequently gabble through the material in 20 mins and are then left with 20 more minutes and no material. That is a very lonely place to be. Have a list of key points and LEARN THEM. Have the necessary figures to hand.

5. Prepare
Yes, I know I already said it, but it is so important it bears repetition. Practice making a point to anyone who will listen - relatives, friends etc. Be aware of your body language and posture - they are both very powerful communicators in their own right. If possible, video yourself. Be warned- it is horrifying. You inevitably sound nothing like you think you do and look nothing like you imagine.

6. Keep cool
If you loose your temper in a debate then you have lost (or should have, if your opponent is worth a damn). Don't pursue the debate down minute avenues of detail unless you are VERY confident of the outcome. Stick to your prepared points and make the broad case.
standready
Very well said, bikerman!
loremar
When I was in high school, I debated some teachers during off-classes and even during classes. But that was because I have so very little knowledge. I didn't care if I was wrong or right, I just speak my mind out loud.

But as I gained knowledge, I find it hard to debate and become less aggressive especially when I can see the flaws in my arguments, I would think there's a lot more to work on. And I'm really just not a good debater, I'm not a fast thinker and I struggle a lot in language even in my own dialect. Those are the things that actually make me nervous.
Helios
Thanks Bikerman, a very helpful post! Very Happy

I simply avoid debating online just because of what happens to loyal here.
I don't want to be sucked into that world of online debating and forger how to do it in real life, so I stick to debating in real life.

In addition this can be expanded by saying that people nowadays do less face-to-face communication, now that we have facebook and all that... not that it's not useful for some people,
but it also engulfs many of them in what can be described as social goo which can only be penetrated by SMS or the Internet.
Bikerman
Well, I've always been something of a natural disputant. It has downsides. At any family meeting everyone knows that I'll be the one in the kitchen arguing against a 'settled opinion', rather than simply chit-chatting. I can't resist a good argument Smile
The difficulty is that many people take it personally - they think that challenging their statements/beliefs is an attack on them, whereas I see it simply as an attempt to clarify what they are saying and determine if it has any validity.
The upside is that I am pretty difficult to con.
ankitdatashn
Bikerman got you some really good points!

Maintaining calm is very essential however a bit of nervousness is needed for excellence, don't worry because of your nervousness but use it as a tool to let your adrenaline flow.

And also if you are sitting on a chair with side handles then grip those handles as soon as you thing excessive nervousness has been built, it will loosen out your body a bit...

All the best for your next debate Smile
Josso
Not with friends no, infact I have more reservations about having debates on the internet than in real life - I really enjoy real life debates, especially with my friends... I'd rather talk about philosophy, history, maths, science, etc than some random small talk. I tend to keep myself quiet until an interesting point is raised, I'm more forthcoming on the internet but not in interesting debates.
loyal
I think it's a matter of practice. I have not really had much experience in debating in real life, whereas obviously it's easy to debate online and many of us has have plenty of experience in that department.

Helios is right in that debating offline is different to debating online. Different things happen and people behave differently, and then you have to deal with things differently.

Bikerman, those are some great tips and I'm usually careful to stick to what I've read up on and have checked what the experts say. Sometimes though people don't treat you fairly in a discussion. For example, people don't often let me make my point fully.
missdixy
Yes, it's much easier for me also to debate online vs in person. I think for me what makes it so much easier online is that I am a much better writer than I am speaker Very Happy Basically, I can better articulate my thoughts and my ideas via writing than via voice. This leads me to feel more confident about debating when I'm doing it via writing, since I don't have to worry so much about not getting my points across quickly or accurately.
Robert_Redbeard
loyal wrote:
Hey all,
I find that when I debate an issue with someone on the internet, my body is detached from the atmosphere of the debate, so I feel normal. However when I debate an issue with someone in real life, adrenaline pumps through me, and I feel nervous and weird. Anyone else get that? How can I combat this?


Something called Autogenic breathing helps. It slows down your heart rate. What you are experiencing is like the fight or flight reaction or Survival Stress Reaction. And the ill effect of both have a lot to do with heart rate.

Breath in slowly and hold the breath for a couple seconds before letting it back out slowly. This can reduce your heart rate by 20% to 30%.

I have tested this after long and swift sessions of walking. Mostly to the Plasma donation center where I used to live. It was critical to quickly get my heart rate below 70 BPM before they took my heart rate or I would not be able to donate. Worked every time.

It also works in fights. Or the moments leading up to them when you really need your witts about you.

As for getting nervous in real life debates, I don't have a problem with that. I have a problem with getting the other person to shut up long enough to hear what I have to say.
pll
Preparation : is the way you will combat this.
If you are not well prepared for a debate, you will be more stressed. If you are well prepared, nobody will be able to get over you.
faten
Same problem with me
Laughing
deanhills
loyal wrote:
Hey all,
I find that when I debate an issue with someone on the internet, my body is detached from the atmosphere of the debate, so I feel normal. However when I debate an issue with someone in real life, adrenaline pumps through me, and I feel nervous and weird. Anyone else get that? How can I combat this?
I'd say for the majority it is a learned experience. And for a minority it comes naturally. For me it was a learned experience. The key for me was to channel into those I debated with ahead of the debate. Talk to people more so I could be comfortable with them and realize that most of them want me to do well.
ratanegra
Actually, when I debate with someone in real life, I get excited. I really love debating. I do feel nervous sometimes when things get itchy and hateful. Before, I wasn't really good... I got really nervous and my thoughts would become an uncontrollable tornado, so I would usually have to surrender and stop de debate, but now that I have much more practice, I can do things smoothly and easily.
Ankhanu
I don't really get nervous, though I did in my youth. It wasn't until 2nd year university that I became comfortable with public speaking and the like... I realized that I really didn't care how the people in the audience judged me, and that set me free from fear Razz

Now I approach debates and presentations (with question periods at the end) as a challenge, a test to see how well I know what I think I know. I don't really do any special prep or anything for a debate or question period, I prefer to go in cold and see how much I know and how quickly I can draw upon my knowledge and wit to respond and answer questions. Being comfortable with yourself, being willing to test the boundaries of your knowledge and wit, and being able to admit when you don't know something will help you be relaxed and take the stress away. Low stress = successful debate, even if you get trounced.

I'm really not a debater, it's not a skill I'd learned, nor is it really a skill set I possess now... I just like academic challenges Razz
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