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Prof. Graham and Kevin's ABC's of Debate: F is for Flowing

Updated: Jun 30

Are you wandering through the enigmatic currents of debate, seeking a beacon (or stuffed corgi) to illuminate your path? Do you yearn to infuse your intellectual exchanges with a celestial glow? Fear not, for Professor Adrian Graham and Kevin are poised to guide you through the ever-flowing stream of discourse! Today, in the ABC's of Debate, we set our sights on episode seven: F is for Flowing.


Welcome to another enriching episode of "Professor Graham's ABCs of Debate," where Professor Graham and his co-host Kevin delve into the indispensable skill of flowing. Flowing, or effective note-taking, is the backbone of successful debating, ensuring that you track every argument, statistic, and piece of data. Whether you are new to debate or looking to refine your skills, this episode is must-listen.

In this episode, Professor Graham and Kevin discuss the common misconception that one can rely solely on memory or pre-written blocks to navigate a debate round. The reality is far from it. Debaters often face hundreds of arguments, assertions, and pieces of evidence, making it virtually impossible to remember everything accurately. Moreover, the sequence of these arguments plays a crucial role in how effectively they are presented. Without a well-organized flow, even the most brilliant arguments can turn into a disorganized mess.

One of the practical tips shared in this episode is the use of separate sheets of paper for each position. This method ensures that debaters have ample space to note down arguments and counter-arguments without running out of room. Graham recommends using legal-sized paper for this purpose, as it provides more space and is easier to manage than standard printer paper. He acknowledges that some people might prefer using a laptop for flowing, but he encourages listeners to give paper a try, highlighting the benefits of a tangible, organized flow.

Another key tip is to start flowing from the lower part of the paper. Debates often begin with lengthy overviews, and starting lower on the page ensures that there is enough space to capture all the initial arguments and subsequent responses. This approach is particularly useful in formats where multiple speeches are delivered, as it allows for a clear and organized record of the debate's progression.

Horizontal and vertical spacing are also crucial aspects of effective flowing. Keeping arguments tight horizontally ensures that there is enough space to note down multiple points without clutter. Vertical spacing, on the other hand, allows for the development of arguments throughout the debate. By leaving sufficient space between each argument, debaters can track the evolution of the debate and respond more effectively.

The episode also highlights the importance of flexibility in flowing. While maintaining a structured approach is essential, debaters should also allow for some flexibility to accommodate the dynamic nature of debates. For instance, final rebuttals might require more space for emphasis or visual aids, and having the flexibility to adjust the flow can be beneficial.

In addition to these practical tips, Professor Graham shares his own experiences and insights. He emphasizes that while these tips might seem overwhelming at first, they become second nature with practice. Graham suggests checking out the Wyoming Debate Roundup website (, which offers more in-depth explanations and visual examples of effective flowing techniques.

Flowing is more than just a skill; it is an art that requires practice and dedication. By incorporating these tips and strategies, debaters can enhance their performance and gain a competitive edge. Professor Graham and Kevin's insights provide a starting guide to mastering this essential skill, making this episode a valuable resource for anyone serious about improving their debating.

In conclusion, flowing is the cornerstone of successful debating. It ensures that debaters can keep track of every argument, respond effectively, and maintain an organized and persuasive presentation. Whether you are a novice or an experienced debater, the insights and tips shared in this episode can significantly enhance your debate performance. So, grab your legal-sized paper and start flowing—your future debate victories await!


Adrian Graham's whole ABC's of Debate YouTube series is available now! Check it out here:

Here's a basic worksheet for students to take notes on the ABC's of Debate:


Bio: Adrian Graham is a senior at the University of Wyoming, where he is majoring in secondary education and history (and video games). He is also a Speech and Debate Coach at Laramie High School. When he was in high school, Adrian attended Cheyenne East. There he competed in policy debate, winning many speaker awards and tournament championships, including the State Championship. 


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