The Summary Speech

The summary is commonly considered to be the most important speech in the round. In the summary, debaters need to start crystallizing and condensing down the most important points brought up in the debate. Specifically, if a case has several contentions, it is commonplace for the summary speaker to only go for one of the contentions brought up previously in the round. This is known as the “collapse.” When the summary speaker collapses on an argument, it’s important that they are also able to weigh the argument. Comparisons between your case and the case of your opponent -- which is better and more important in the round -- are critical for giving the judge an idea of why you deserve to win the round. Without making weighing comparisons between arguments in the summary, the judge won’t have a clear reason to prioritize one argument ahead of the other.

There are several specific components of an effective collapse. First, the debater must “extend” their argument. Extending an argument means restating (briefly) what the argument is & why it is true. If you try to discuss an argument without extending it first, you won’t have access to it on the flow. Secondly, debaters must rebuild (aka frontline) the argument(s) that they’re extending. This consists of responding to the other team’s rebuttal against your case. Third, as previously discussed, the debater will have to weigh their case against their opponent’s. Fourth, the summary speaker will extend responses made against the other team’s case in an effort to disprove the other case to the judge. These responses will have been originally made in the rebuttal, so it will be up to the summary speaker to accurately extend the responses & sufficiently implicate them.