New Material in the PMR

By:  Jodie Goodman, Swarthmore College 2016

When I’m PM’ing, I like to start working on crystalizing the round as early as the Member of the Opposition’s speech. That’s when I have a feel for the story of the round and how both sides contribute to it. Even while outlining the last speech, however, it’s important not to tune out the debate. Especially, remember to listen out for new substantive points or new lines of rebuttal in the MO’s speech. If left entirely unaddressed, new points from this speech can be round winning, even if they could have been dealt with easily. My strategy remembering these points is to write them at the top of my flow or above my outline for the PMR and draw a box around them. Feel free to draw a couple of stars or arrows, if you like. I sometimes even use a different pen color. Maybe that sounds excessive, but you really don’t want to forget to address the new matter. It’s a sad way to lose a round.

At the very top of your PMR, say something like, “before I crystalize the round, I want to deal with a couple of new points from the MO’s speech,” just to let the judge know where you’re going on the flow. After this, the opposition will make faces at you like they’ve never said anything new in their life, but if you feel the point was really new, it can’t hurt to try to rebut it and ignore their silly faces. In a couple of short sentences, say what point was new and give your response. New material shouldn’t take up more than 20-30 seconds of your speech, so keep it short and sweet. And then, continue on to the rest of your magnificent rebuttal like it never even happened.

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