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In the Name of God بسم الله

Speech and Debate

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Peace upon you,

Speech and debate is an art that helps us communicate and grow more as individuals. There are many tips and tricks to it, especially when dealing with real life encounters. A Harvard study i remember claims that around 93% of communication non-verbal (mostly body language and tone of voice), while only 7% happens with the choice of words. This is especially important in politics and sales. People get convinced not so much by words, but rather by actions. 

So, us on ShiaChat and other forums only have the 7% to play with. The verbal choice of words. Yet in those 7% there are many rules that lead to success of those involved. It is not easy to have a smooth civilzed discussion about most important topics. 

As i have personally felt a struggle in the competency of many forum users in being able to debate smoothly, i've decided to open this topic.

I believe that a successful debate and speech have to be based on basic Islamic principles, regardless of whom one faces:

Those building blocks of successful speech and debate are already half way to success i believe. 

However, the art of written presentation and intercourse can be analyzed and studied in much detail. I will not claim to be an expert in this field, but hope that some others can expand on all the tips and tricks. We can even discuss things like tone and body language as well, that can be used outside of this forum.

But even in written dialogues there must be a certain rhythm and harmony.

Are there any people here who know about this, or are willing to find out?



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Avoid sarcasm and facetious remarks.

Without the voice inflection and body language of personal communication these are easily misinterpreted. A sideways smile, :-), has become widely accepted on the net as an indication that "I'm only kidding". If you submit a satiric item without this symbol, no matter how obvious the satire is to you, do not be surprised if people take it seriously.[5] 

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I noticed most communications on forums are back and forth  arguments to prove superiority in the little knowledge we have, but consider much.

No wonder there is a lot more war than peace.

It is interesting to note though,in face to face communications,according to some hadiths I had come across, Islam doesn't encourage too much body movement and gestures while communicating, which is very common in many countries except a few.

The thread you provided sums it up very well, we just have to put it in practise.


Edited by certainclarity
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Aristotle was a monotheist who said a lot of true things. Among others is this quote:

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

This is very relevant to the art of speech and debate i believe. First of all it brings the conversation to a higher level because each speaker or writer will be more familiar with the others' points. This leads to more intelligent and challenging conversations.

If the person trying to convey a message is educated in the perspective of the other person, then he/she will be able to think many steps ahead. Instead of spending time and energy on basics, they will be able to talk on a much higher level. It is like a shia debating with a suni while knowing suni books. If the shia can address and prove his points from the point-of-view of a suni, he will be much stronger. 

So this leads us to conclude that a better understanding of all sides helps create a better "chat". Instead of only pushing ones own idea forward without knowledge or consideration of the opposite debater, one should make an effort to test ones own ideas from the opposing persons reality.

Not only is this a more respectful and considerate way of communicating, but it is even more powerful. It will lead to a stronger force and higher chances of winning. At the same time it will give the person an even stronger certainty that his argument is right to start with, and hence more faith in the idea.

OK, happy debating :)

PS: please add more ideas on better speech and debate tricks if you can, thanks 

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"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"

- Albert Einstein


He was the same guy who said "if the formula isn't beautiful it can't be right"

This takes us to another point, that when we debate it is good to keep it as simple as possible and easy for the reader. Sometimes less is more, and getting straight to the point is usually for the best of the conversation. For instance, i find people beating around the bush in debates by asking questions that will eventually lead them to an attempt at proving themselves right, instead of simply presenting their argument and evidence point-blank. I am sure many of you know what i mean.

So, simplicity and ease are a sure sign of higher levels of debate or speech (as well as beauty). This counts of course for anything from body language to writing.

At the same time the more words we use, the less value each word has. The chance of saying something wrong increases simultaneously with the quantity.


Also keep in mind that humans don't have a very long concentration span, so most people will loose track of what is being said if it is too long and complicated. Our aim is to make it as easy and user-friendly as possible.

This way we make way for easy and smooth debates that are fruitful for all sides.


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