For traditional rounds, crossfire is among the most important segments of the debate. Each crossfire is three minutes long, and consists of debaters alternately asking the other questions pertaining to their case & other arguments. There are three crossfires in the debate: first crossfire, second crossfire, and grand crossfire. First crossfire comes after the two constructive speeches, and covers the case material immediately preceding the crossfire. The two first speakers argue in the first crossfire. Second crossfire comes after the two rebuttal speeches and focuses on covering the content delivered across the rebuttals. The two second speakers argue in the second crossfire. Grand crossfire comes after the summaries and involves all four debaters.

To have success in crossfire, several things need to happen. First, debaters must conduct themselves respectfully. In the heat of a competitive round, this can be a difficult recommendation to observe. However, it is critical that you remain respectful and professional to avoid alienating the judge and starting a fight with your opponents. Secondly, debaters should attempt to project confidence and attain perceptual dominance during the crossfire whenever possible. It is difficult to simultaneously avoid seeming arrogant while striving for perceptual dominance, and in my opinion debaters should always err on the side of politeness and humility. Among other things, perceptual dominance can be attained by knowing facts offhand about your case, speaking loudly and clearly, and making direct eye contact with the judge (and not looking at your opponent during cross. You are not trying to convince them, you are trying to convince your judge!) Thirdly, one should ask substantive questions during crossfire. The best questions probe & direct attention to the weak spots of the opponent’s case. Simultaneously, debaters should take every opportunity to restate and expand upon positions and arguments presented from their own case.

The final part to an argument is the impact. The impact should quantify and/or evaluate how people are affected by the argument. Concluding our example, the impact to the infrastructure bill could be something along the lines of “therefore, increasing infrastructure spending would substantially reduce poverty. Joe Biden’s infrastructure policy is estimated to bring five million American children out of poverty.” Every argument should have the components of link, warrant, and impact. These will look and sound different from one argument to the next, but the fundamental components work together to justify causal assertions & therefore should be present in all contentions.