Overview of the Third Speech: World Schools

The third speaker has a pivotal role in the course of a debate. In this article, we will review the role of the third speaker and a timing breakdown.

The third speech in World Schools Debate is typically viewed as the turning point of the round. By the end of the respective third speeches, all information has been established and thoroughly analyzed. This is perhaps the most important speech in a World Schools round.

Because several speeches have elapsed by the start of the third speech, the emphasis of the speaker should be on quality rather than quantity. The major pitfall of the third speaker is to get too caught up in the minutiae of the round rather than the bigger picture.

An effective third speaker will address the major clash of the round and essentially “write the ballot” for the judge.


The timing breakdown for the third speech that we recommend is the following:

0:00-0:15 Introduction and hook

0:15-2:00 Clarifications and strategic errors

2:00-4:00 First question analysis

4:00-6:00 Second question analysis

6:00-8:00 Third question analysis

15 Second flex time conclusion

You should begin the speech with a quick introduction that criticizes some aspect of the opposing side that you consider to be the most important voter issue. That critique should be a simple transition into the clarifications and strategic errors made by the opposing team. During this time, you should also lay out your roadmap for the round, which should include the three questions you will ask during the debate.

The Three Questions

So what are the three questions? Each question should be symbolic of a major clash in the round. Ideally, each question should have the same theme as each of your substantive arguments. For example, let’s analyze the round “This house would not eat meat.” On the proposition side, you may have presented the following three arguments:

  1. Eating meat is principally unethical.

  2. Meat harms the environment.

  3. The detriment of the meat industry (on workers, etc.).

Based on these three substantives, you should create questions that could be answered by either side of the debate and fit within the realm of your substantive arguments. For example:

  1. Which side of the house ethically supports animal and natural populations?

  2. Who best ensures the stability of the climate?

  3. Which side of the house best provides for the rights of workers to be upheld?

Each question should be answered in the following ways, with the example of “Who best ensures the stability of the climate?”

  1. Who best ensures the stability of the climate?

  2. What do we hear from the opposition team?

  3. Why do we not prefer their analysis? (This is where you refute the heart of this argument.)

  4. So why do you prefer the comparative on the proposition side of the house under this question of climate stability? (This is where you list reasons on how you solve for protecting the climate.).

With this format in mind, the third speech is rather straightforward. The best way to gain comfort with this formatting is practice.

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