DEBATE AND OPINIONS

What is the difference between being aggressive and assertive? This is very different between cultures. (eye contact, firm handshakes, direct speech) Also, indirect/polite and insecure/unsure?

What’s it like in your country?

What’s the difference between expressing direct opinions and using direct speech to do so? Americans tend to be very direct with opinions, but they are expressed less directly. Germans tend to use very direct speech to express themselves, but are more moderate what they express.

It’s good to show that you’re passionate about a topic, but don’t let it get out of control.

When stating a provable fact, use stronger phrases: “mice are smaller than elephants” not “I believe mice are smaller than elephants”

EXPRESSING POLITE DISAGREEMENT
With all due respect + argument (use this especially with professors and more formal debates)
I’m sorry, but (counterpoint)
I see where you’re coming from/I see your point, but (counterpoint)
While I agree with a lot of what you say,...
It’s not so much...I have a problem with as...
I’m sorry, but I can’t agree with you on that.
I’m afraid I can’t/don’t agree with...
INTERRUPTIONS AND INTERRUPTING
If you’ll just let me finish/If I could just finish
I’d just like to quickly point out
Can I just jump in here?
Hold on a moment, that’s not correct
Sorry to interrupt, but I think you’ve missed my point.
Let me just respond to that, please.
Excuse me, but that’s not correct (this is pretty direct, so be careful how you say it) or Excuse me, but I think you’ve made a mistake (more indirect)
ASKING FOR AND GIVING CLARIFICATION
Surely you don’t believe/you’re not saying
Are you honestly suggesting...?
I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying
Can you repeat/rephrase that?
When you said...., did you mean...?
Let me just check that I understand what you’re saying...
Just to be clear...
In other words,...
GIVING FACTS
The facts clearly state/show
According to (source),
In a (year or publication) study, it was proven that/shown that...
All the research points to...
ANSWERING/GIVING A SPECIFIC POINT
Going back to what ...said, ...
Earlier you said that...
Regarding your argument that...
First I’d like to respond to...
There are two points I’d like to answer, the first is...
The main point I’d like to raise is...
IDIOMS
To shoot down an idea/to stick to one’s guns/ to come under fire
STRENGTHENING YOUR ARGUMENTS
(Don’t be afraid to stand up for your ideas and be direct if you need to, just stay respectful!)
I + strongly/completely/vehemently/absolutely + agree/disagree/believe/feel/think/stand behind my statement

LINKS TO DEBATE VIDEOS
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UK8ccWSZkic TED.com debate on nuclear energy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diKrlDeSoCg BBC debate on multiculturalism
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPsUXhXgWmI&feature=relmfu TED talk: The Lost Art of Democratic Debate
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMddgl0lglw&feature=related John Stewart takes on Fox News: Journalistic Integrity
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MD9F1t9GQzA Obama and Hillary Clinton Presidential Debate
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEv5rjr2cf8 The European GMO Debate