TMU #4: TMU Webinar

Students and I review the month's lessons and discuss applications

Our first webinar took place 11/28/17. Technical difficulties kept video from displaying properly, but the audio was all captured. We reviewed the month’s lessons plus discussed applications.

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In review…

  • Video 1: Flowing Method
    • Debater’s motto: “Flow every time; that, my friends, is the bottom line.”
    • Controversy in the debate world: Some think that the ballot is the most important document. It’s not. The FLOW is the most important because it records exactly what goes on in the round.
    • Emphasis: Record EXACTLY what is said in the round.
      • Amateur persuaders: Records what they want to hear
      • Expert persuaders: Records EXACTLY what is said
    • “Strawman”: Logical fallacy that repackages the argument to make it easier to knock down. It may SEEM persuasive, but it really is not. At best, it is short-lived. In reality, a strawman is fake, a counterfeit.
    • “Mirroring”: Technique that considers EXACTLY what your opponent is saying, and actually persuades them in the process.
      • Amateur persuaders: Will spit back their interpretation of what you said (sometimes gets me angry!)
      • Expert persuaders: Will spit back the EXACT same language, maybe summarized but as accurate as possible.


  • Video 2: Reverse the Burden
    • “Burden of Proof” = Concept of argumentation where the claim-maker carries the burden to prove their claim. We learned this in our PERSUADE class: Always expect and always give warrants and qualifications to those warrants when making a claim (and expect them of others).
    • “Reversing the Burden”: Attempt to turn this expectation back to the opponent.
    • “Calibrated Questioning” is the technique used to reverse the burden. It gives your opponent the illusion of control in the situation or argument. Examples:
      • “How am I supposed to do/believe that?”
      • “What about this interests/bothers you?”
      • “How can we solve this together?”


  • Video 3: Tactical Empathy
    • This is master-level persuasion. When pulled off, it can lead to ninja persuasion.
    • “Playing the devil’s advocate” means crawling inside the head of your opponent and seeing the world as they see it. Start your argument from that perspective, and you will be 10x more persuasive.
    • After mirroring, after reversing the burden, try “tactical empathy” to interpret what your opponent REALLY is feeling/thinking/advocating.

Congratulations to Cheryl, one of the attendees of the webinar. She won a free copy of Scott Adams’ book Win Bigly: Persuasion in a world where facts don’t matter. I think I’ll be giving away a book every month! I have plenty to share.

Next Month: We will be delving into logic and how it can be used to persuade. It is trickier than you might think! TMU #5 releases Tuesday, December 5.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Mary Lichlyter

    Watching – er, listening – Monday afternoon. I plan to use what I’ve learned when I judge (hopefully!) at the January debate in Aurora. I need to figure out how to judge both debate and speech on the same day.

    Question: Amateur debaters record what they want to hear; could this be that they record what they *think* they hear through the filter of their personalities? I mean, as opposed to someone who is twisting statements deliberately. Can a debater misinterpret statements and think he/she is restating them accurately?

    By the way, what you’ve been saying this week jives with what I’ve learned in other reading about communicating well with people. The words “tactical” and “devil’s advocate” are off-putting to me, but I know what you’re saying.

    Persuasion in and of itself is neither moral or immoral; like logic (and other things), it’s a tool. Its virtue or evil depends on who is using the tool and why.

    • I’ll be at the same tournament. Can’t wait to see you!

      Great question. Answer: Yes. We all interpret to an extent, and our biases are huge filters we all have. My point is to resisting the filter as much as possible. Doing so makes us stronger persuaders and much better communicators. It makes us better people, honestly.

      I love your take on persuasion. I’m very encouraged by it.