There was a time when rulers used to rule according to their whims. Their orders were supposed to be orders of God. People could not do anything else but obey them. But the times have now changed.
Even a dictator at present finds it difficult to go against public opinion. In one way or the other, he has to appeal to the public. He has to respect its feelings. He can do so only if he knows how to be put his views before others in a convincing manner. The importance of the art of public speaking is still greater for democratic countries. Can a leader win his election without the support of the people? Can he get that support without impressing upon them the righof the cause? The only way of converting the people to one’s own point of view is through reasoning and argument. One must know this art. Indeed, the success of democracy depends upon this art.
When a teacher puts some questions to a student, he begins to tremble. The student, even when he knows the answer, fails to speak it out before his class fellows. He feels afraid of them. He gets nervous. This defect is removed through debates. If a boy takes part in debates, his nervousness disappears. By coming before the public again and again, he develops self-confidence. Self-confidence gives courage. Self-confidence and courage help him to put his views before others. So debates enable students to face strangers. Debates cure them of their nervousness.
It is a matter of common knowledge that we cannot have clear ideas on different topics without study. Besides studying course books, it is essential to study newspapers, magazines and general books. Debates encourage students to study more and more. This is of great advantage for them.
The success of a speaker depends upon three things. First, the subject matter must he selected carefully. If the selection is not good, the public will not care to listen to the speaker. Secondly, preparation must be made thoroughly. Thirdly, the presentation must be effective. A successful speaker is one who presents his subject-matter in such a way that even wrong appears to be right. This art of putting one’s arguments forcefully and convincingly, is learnt through debates. Through this art we can change the head and heart of the audience.
Students, who take part in debates, prove successful in their practical lives also. If they become lawyers, they can present their cases successfully. If one enters in business he can push up his sales. By his power of reasoning, he can make his customers believe in the usefulness of his goods. This power of public speaking is the greatest weapon of public leaders, social reformers and politicians. Success will not be theirs, if they lack this ability. The advantages of debates are numerous.