Skip to main content
Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Make Your Point!: Practical Skills for Everyday Advocacy

All-Day Seminar

Saturday, September 7, 2013 - 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1H0872

Ever wished you were more effective in expressing your opinion and making sense of the never-ending stream of viewpoints and arguments that bombard us daily? Now’s your chance. The art of argumentation and debate is a time-honored skill with wide real-life applications, from discussing politics in a public forum to weighing the merits of organic gardening at a cocktail party. 

In this lively program, Paul Hayes, George Washington University’s director of debate, introduces you to the art of advocacy, drawing on the skills and processes that championship debaters use. He’ll help you find your own voice as an advocate as you construct and deliver compelling arguments with conviction and confidence.

10 a.m. to 12 p.m.  Debate Basics: Listen, Ponder, Develop, Dispute

Argument drills and exercises will get you thinking—and debating—like a pro. The first step to becoming an effective advocate is becoming an effective listener. Listening exercises will boost your ability to organize, track, and process complex arguments. Then learn how to build and effectively deliver arguments of your own in Interactive drills and demonstrations involving both participants and championship debaters.

12 noon to 1 p.m.  Lunch   (Participants provide their own.)

1 to 3:30 p.m.  Everyone’s a Critic

The afternoon focuses on how people make decisions and how we can all improve our decision-making processes when evaluating competing points of view. Demonstration debates serve as a springboard to explore your own habits and instincts, as well as an opportunity to identify and practice new decision-making models. Learn to cut through argumentative clutter, identify which arguments are important, and assess them using a methodical approach to decision-making geared to producing reliable and consistent results in a wide variety of contexts. Participants will be involved as both judges and debaters.


S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Drive, SW
Metro: Smithsonian Mall Exit (Blue/Orange)