Have you ever been in a round where the opposing team made a completely inaccurate statement, and you can prove it’s inaccurate?
While many people would simply get up in the next speech and start refuting the statement, this can cause problems. What if the other team denies ever having said it?
Cross-examination can be an incredible tool for trapping people into consistency. You can avoid the other team wiggling around by asking the right CX questions.
So, how do you make sure the other team doesn’t pretend they never said such a thing?
Here it is:
You: “In your last speech you said: [statement]. I’m giving you a chance now, would you like to stick with it or rephrase it?”
That’s all there is to it.
Don’t say “In your last speech you said [statement], right?” because they might deny it or try to wiggle around it.
You can leave out the words “I’m giving you a chance now”, but if you can pull it off without sounding mean, it will be more powerful. It communicates to the judge that something they did was wrong and you’re letting them rectify it.
If they ask what you mean by your question, you could say “I just want to know if you stand by that statement or not”. If they still don’t understand, they’re just pretending not to.
If they rephrase the statement, the judge will trust them less, because it shows that they’re not actually being accurate all the time.
Finally, if they stick with it, you can prove them wrong in the next speech and they’ll be caught red-handed.
I just want to illustrate this by giving a full scenario from beginning to end.
Opponent in 2NC: The affirmative team has read no evidence about their specific plan.
CX (after introductions and preliminary questions)
You: Alright, now in your last speech you said “the affirmative team has read no evidence about their specific plan.” Just want to give you a chance: would you like to rephrase that or stick with your statement?
Opponent: Well I mean you didn’t really have a credible advoca–
You: Okay so you’re rephrasing it?
Opponent: ….Yeah I guess
You: So the original statement that we’ve read no evidence about our specific plan isn’t true?
Opponent: No I mean you don’t have credible evidence
You: I understand, thank you.
You: You might recall our discussion in Cross-Examination when I asked [name] whether he wanted to stick with his statement or rephrase it. Originally, he claimed we had no evidence specific to our plan. Then he revealed that he really meant no “credible” evidence specific to our plan. Of course, this is also false because our advocate has a doctorate degree and is an expert on the topic.
Stay tuned for more upcoming Cross-Examination tips!
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