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Tips: Points of Info.

Points of Information are a vital part of any debate and should not be underestimated. Before and after your speech you can't just sit quietly and enjoy the other speeches. You must keep the adjudicators aware of your presence, ideas and argument. Also P.O.I. can be used as a weapon to undermine, and even destroy, an opponents speech. Also Points of Order and Points of Personal Privilege which are used in some debating formats are not permitted at Worlds/BP


Presentation:
When giving a point of information you are expected to stand up, hold your left hand out (place your right hand on your head, honestly!) and say "On a point of information sir". Different people use slight variations on this but this is the basic one. Often speed is important to get in first, but that is no guarantee that you will be accepted. So you should make sure that you have enough space to stand up quickly and at a split second's notice (without sending your notes flying towards the podium). If you can do without a bench for writing, then a front row seat is ideal. If however you can't then use a seat at the end of a row so that you need only stand out to the side. Once you have been accepted stand facing the speaker at the podium but also try to half face the chair and audience, if possible.


Keep your P.O.I. short and to the point. The max. time allowed is 15sec but you should try for between 5 and 10 sec. Remember that many speakers like to take a P.O.I. and then use the time to check what they will say next while half listening to the person offering the point. Once they know what the next part of their speech is they work out an answer to your point. If your point is only about 5 sec. in duration it doesn't give them enough time and is more likely to catch them (especially if the point is weak and wouldn't work well if they had time to think about it). It looks bad if they have to stop to think what to say, especially if they have to ask you to repeat it.
Timing is important. If a speaker is in full stride and knows exactly where they are going for the next few seconds, he/she is unlikely to accept a point. Wait for a pause, for breath etc. by the speaker and then offer the point. Obviously you have to be quick and good reflexes are needed to be on your feet literally within a split second. I've found that a point is more likely to be accepted in this type of case but you can't wait for too long as the point could then be out of place.


Styles:
Different people have different styles when it comes to Points of Information. Some people (no names) like to virtually barrage opposing speakers with every point which pops into their head. This can be very difficult to deal with and takes some getting used to. The trick is to just ignore it if possible and make your speech. If you decide to use this type of style be very careful. It has been known to annoy adjudicators if taken too far and there IS a precedence for having speakers disqualified.


Different people have different styles when it comes to Points of Information. Some people (no names) like to virtually barrage opposing speakers with every point which pops into their head. This can be very difficult to deal with and takes some getting used to. The trick is to just ignore it if possible and make your speech. If you decide to use this type of style be very careful. It has been known to annoy adjudicators if taken too far and there IS a precedence for having speakers disqualified.


Most speakers prefer to just wait and see how a speech develops. This involves leaving weak points go and use just one or two attacking the central core of the speech once it has developed a bit.


Accepting:
When you are speaking you should accept 2-3 points. Watch out for good speakers. If someone has killed off every other speaker on your side be careful and don't assume that you can handle them. Points should not be longer than 15 sec. but you can cut that person off before this if they are making a very poor point and particularly if you have a good put-down to use on them.



Always deal with the point that is offered. Never accept a point as true, unless the offerer has made a mistake and it backs up your argument. Always try to dismiss a point as incorrect or irrelevant. A point ignored is allowed to stand and will go against you in adjudication.


The Most common mistake I see as a judge is people accepting the first POI they are offered right on one minute. You haven't said anything yet. Don't take a point unless you have developed a point first.


The second most common mistake is taking two points back to back. This is like having a conversation and destroys your ability to properly develop your argument. Just because someone offers you a point you DON'T have to take it if you don't want to.
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