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Lesson ten: the floor

10.1. Today the audience will play an active role. During the debate anyone in the audience ("on the

floor" as in the House of Commons) may stand up and ask "Point of information!", which is dealt with exactly in the same way as usual. Points are still restricted to 15 seconds and may be genuine questions or short statements. They may be accepted or declined.

10.2. After the first three speakers of either side have spoken, the Chair may "throw the debate open to the floor." The Chair now asks in turn for a speaker for / against the motion:

"Is there a speaker for the motion?" - "Is there a speaker against the motion?"

Anyone getting up to speak tries to catch the attention of the Chair, who decides who is to 

speak This is the equivalent of "catching the Speaker's eye" in the House of Commons.

But this time statements can be up to one minute each. There is no dialogue with the debaters or between members of the floor, although others may and will contradict or express their approbation or disapprobation. (It isn't a talk show!)

10.3. Now the Chair returns to the debate, calling for the reply speeches.

10.4.Same procedure as usual, with emphasis on floor participation. 

This form is normal in a lively public debate on real issues. It is inappropriate in a competition with adjudicators judging the debate. One advantage is that it gives debaters added time to consider their reply speeches.

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