Overview of the First Speech: World Schools

The first speaker in World Schools debate provides the case for their side, including the framing and substantive argumentation for the round. In this article, we will outline the timing and role of the first speaker.

The first speaker in World Schools Debate provides a detailed explanation of their given case for a round. For most rounds, the speech is already created before the round, so the first speaker has the ability to practice and memorize their speech. However, during impromptu rounds, the first speaker has to be ready to give a full-length speech on demand. In order to gain comfort with both of these formats, frequent practice and example speeches are crucial and beneficial to speaker development.


The most important aspect of this speech is organization. The judge wants to thoroughly understand exactly what you are describing, so giving a detailed roadmap after your introduction and signposting as the speech progresses will significantly increase your speaker points.

0:00-0:20 Introduction and hook

0:20-0:30 Roadmap

0:30-2:30 Framing

2:30-5:00 First substantive argument

5:00-7:30 Second substantive argument

7:30-8:00 Conclusion


The first speech begins with a quick introduction or hook that should grab the attention of the judge. Common hooks include a story, compelling statistic or personal anecdote. Once you connect the hook to the topic discussed, you have completed a short but effective introduction. Following the introduction, the speaker will present a roadmap. This should outline what content you will cover in the speech and the relative order. If you give a roadmap at the top of your speech, make sure you follow it; otherwise, the judge will be confused, or you will look disorganized. Following the roadmap, present the framing for the round, which is your team’s definitions, stance and burden. This should take around two minutes. Then, you will introduce both of your first two substantives (the second speaker introduces the third substantive). After you finish introducing the substantive arguments, give a quick conclusion. Judges especially appreciate when your conclusion is connected to the introduction at the start of the speech - this will increase your speaker points.

The first speech is incredibly important, as it provides the first impression for your team. So, if you follow the format outlined previously, you will set a solid first impression and achieve high speaker points for your speech.

For more information on the content discussed in this article, please visit the World Schools Resource page.