By Shane D. Dunbar, MEd, PRP, PAP
Professional Registered Parliamentarian, and
Professional Accredited Parliamentarian
The primary purpose of debating motions is to persuade the assembly (or team) members to vote in a certain way. In persuasive speeches such as debating motions, members should make their position clear by using beginning, middle, and ending statements.
- THE BEGINNING STATEMENT: How do you feel about the motion? Do you want it to be adopted?
- THE MIDDLE STATEMENT (BODY): Present sound, logical evidence to back up your beginning statement. Effective debate should include a) completeness of thought, b) logical reasoning, and c) conviction of delivery.
- THE ENDING STATEMENT (CONCLUSION): Reinforce your position. How do you want the assembly to vote?
There are excellent examples of debates using beginning, middle and ending statements in the
Parliamentary Procedure Judging Guide
manual, which is described on page two of this web site.
EXAMPLES OF BEGINNING AND ENDING STATEMENTS
FOR DEBATING MOTIONS
Students will participate in a meeting using selected parliamentary procedures and take turns in various roles, including presiding officer, secretary, treasurer, committee chair, member, and parliamentarian.
Procedures used may be taken from an instructor-chosen text or from Robert’s Rules of Order.
The advantages and disadvantages of parliamentary procedure will be noted as they are reflected during the meeting and discussed later.
- Follows well-established, highly structured procedure (It is also the oldest and best-known technique for conducting business.)
- Allows the opportunity for any member to be heard
- Allows only one item of business to be considered at a time
- Maintains the majority opinion while respecting rights of minority
- Complicated procedures—may seem obstructive of discussion
- Learning curve associated with it may hinder some members’ participation
- Does not encourage creativity and may inhibit free exchange of ideas