Giving a Fire Third Speech

Many rounds are won or lost based on what transpires in the third speech of the round. In most threes, a “collapse” on one or two major strategic arguments will transpire. At this point in the round, there should be a limited or nonexistent number of new arguments that will be made. Instead, the focus should be on expanding upon existing arguments, and weighing each of them such that your team comes out ahead. There is a concept known as the “opp block” that the proposition team needs to anticipate. This happens between the opp 3 and the opp reply, constituting twelve uninterrupted minutes of content from the opposing team. It is widely understood that the prop team should be affirmatively winning by the time that the opp begins. 

A common structure of a third speech is as follows: a “strategic mistake” at the top followed by dividing up the rest of the debate into three questions. Let’s take one example, on the motion that “this house supports space tourism.” One question could be “does space tourism provide economic benefits?” Another question, “is it principally just to spend money on space tourism?” Another question, “does space tourism produce innovations that are useful on earth?” Each of these questions gets at a different vein of the debate, and therefore are complementary and useful to include. 

A strong third speech should rely heavily on a narrative. What are the core ideas your side stands for? Why are they fundamental values? Answering these questions is the key to victory.