Whether you are a founder of a tech company making a pitch to a venture capitalist or you're a hedge fund analyst trying to understand the fundamentals of a business, the skills you learn in debate will help make you successful. Through debate, students learn how to properly research and understand complicated topics, organize their information, persuasively convince others and critically analyze opposing arguments.
Here are some quotes from famous and accomplished individuals who were debaters!
"I think debating in high school and college a most valuable training whether for politics, the
law, business, or for service on community committees such as the PTA and the League of
Women Voters. A good debater must not only study material in support of his own case, but he
must also, of course, thoroughly analyze the expected arguments of his opponent....The give and
take of debating, the testing of ideas, is essential to democracy. I wish we had a good deal
more debating in our institutions than we do now."
John F. Kennedy, former President of the United States, August 22, 1960
"...I joined the debating team, which was sponsored by Mr. Virgil Parks, our Latin teacher. That's where I developed my speaking skills and learned to think on my feet. At first I was scared
to death. I had butterflies in my stomach - and to this day I still get a little nervous before giving
a speech. But the experience of being on the debating team was crucial. You can have brilliant
ideas, but if you can't get them across, your brains won't get you anywhere."
Lee Iacocca, CEO of Chrysler in Iacocca: An Autobiography
"I spent most of my high school years doing debate. It was the team that I was on and I started
freshman year and spent an incredible amount of time preparing for the annual topic and
competing throughout the state and sometimes throughout the country and it was just my main
activity in high school outside of my academics. It is a skill that is useful because the
fundamental skill of debate is critical thinking and analysis and it's to hear something and to
react to it relatively quickly and to assess the truthfulness of it and to question the validity of it
and to be able to sometimes argue both sides of it..."
David M. Einhorn - billionaire investor and hedge fund manager in an interview with the Oxford
Union December 15, 2017.
Check out these famous debaters!
Samuel Alito, Supreme Court Justice
Kofi Annan, former United Nations Secretary-General
John Belushi, actor and comedian
Stephen Breyer, Supreme Court Justice
Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States
Bill Clinton, former President of the United States
James Dean, actor
Arsenio Hall, comedian and talk show host
Arianna Huffington, TV commentator and founder of the Huffington Post
Lee Iacocca, CEO of Chrysler
Lyndon B. Johnson, former President of the United States
John F. Kennedy, former President of the United States
John Major, former Prime Minister of Great Britain
Nelson Mandela, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former President of South Africa
Hassan Minhaj - Comedian and talk show host
Brad Pitt, Hollywood actor
Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Secretary of State and former First Lady of the United States
Theodore Roosevelt, former President of the United States
Franklin D. Roosevelt, former President of the United States
Adam Sandler, Hollywood actor
Antonin Scalia, U.S. Supreme Court justice
Bruce Springsteen, singer and songwriter
Larry Summers, former economic advisor to the World Bank and Presidents Obama and Clinton
Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of Great Britain
Woodrow Wilson, former President of the United States
Oprah Winfrey, talk show host
Malcolm X , civil rights activist