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Palm Cards

Palm cards are an understandable safety net for debaters. We all remember when we first stood in front of a room of people — half of whom we did not know — and timidly gave a speech we'd carefully written out beforehand.

Palm cards give us confidence, structure, and remind us of the points we need to make. That's why WADL not only allows but encourages their use in debate.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind about the use of palm cards.

  1. Make sure your palm cards are small enough that they can actually fit in your palm.

    Don't use large pieces of paper that require 2 hands to hold. 
    Debating is about engaging with the audience. You are more persuasive if you do not seem to be relying on prepared notes or waving distracting pieces of card.

  2. Speaking of which, hold your palm cards in one hand, and only use the other hand to move from one palm card to the next. 

    Hand gestures are an important part of persuasion. Body language that is open and engaging invites your audience to trust you, 
    and by extension the things that you are saying. Holding your cards with both hands prevents you from doing this.

  3. Try to only use dot-points, and not to rely on your cards. 

    If you write your speech, word for word, on your cards you won't be able to look up as well, and if you do, you'll get lost more 
    easily. Using dot points for the first time is worrying, but it is what you need to do. It means you can look up and speak to your audience, rather than reading to them. That is far more persuasive.

  4. Keep hold, don't throw them to the floor. 

    As above, if you throw away your cards as you go you're more likely to distract your audience from what you're saying than you 
    are to make any particular point about your nonchalant attitude.

  5. Number your cards. 

    Without numbers you have to spend an awkward amount of time shuffling cards if you
     misplace one while you're speaking. Avoid this by numbering them so you can quickly find the next one in the series. That way the pause will be dramatic instead of mortifying.