It’s John from Debate Academy and today we’re going to learn the basics of Cross-Examination. Understanding cross-x will help you ask effective questions and know what kind of questions to prepare for.
Constructive speeches (1ac, 2ac, 1nc, 2nc) are always followed by a cross-examination period, when a debater from the opposing side gets to question the debater that just gave the speech. This is also known as “cross-x”.
Each cross-x lasts 3 minutes.
So, what’s the point of cross-x?
Well you can use cross-x for a variety of strategic purposes, including
Clarify the debate: If you don’t understand an argument, ask about it.
Getting warrants on the record: have the other team explain exactly what their argument is, so you can attack it
Showing Presence or dominance, because perception can make the judge think you’re winning and make your arguments more compelling
Some things you can ask about include:
Arguments made by the other team you did not understand
Arguments made by the other team that you think you may have missed
How some arguments made by the other team are inconsistent with other arguments they made
How the arguments the other team made answer arguments you made
The judge doesn’t flow cross-x, this means that even if you prove a good point during cross-x, you still have to use it as an argument in your next speech for the judge to evaluate it. Here’s an example: If I ask someone a question that proves their impact is unlikely to happen, I then must say something like: “No impact: in cross-x I proved that they can’t explain how their impact will actually happen.”
Here are some extra cross-x tips:
Ask precise questions; avoid being open ended by aiming for yes or no answers.
Don’t waste time on a question the other team can’t answer
Point out when the other team’s arguments don’t have good evidence or warrants backing them.
And last, use this information in your speech!
Here are a few cross-x don’ts:
Don’t be mean or bully the other team.
Don’t ask questions that that could have a surprising answer
Don’t ask filler questions just to waste time
Don’t be a pushover. Be willing to stand your ground.
So to recap: Cross-x should be strategically used to set up arguments and help you better understand your opponents arguments. Every question you ask should have a purpose.
That’s all for this lesson. Congratulations on taking the next step to become a successful policy debater. I’ll see you in the next episode.