Q&A: How should I communicate with my partner in Grand Cross-Examination?

Q: How should I communicate with my partner in Grand Cross-Examination?


You and your partner will need to communicate in the round without words and outside of prep time. Therefore you should develop a system of in-round communication with your partner. Some of this can be planned and some you will have to learn by debating together. I would suggest having sticky notes to pass to your partner. Use wisely and don’t overload your partner with notes. These are helpful if you are helping your partner when he or she is stuck, not if you are trying to control the speech. You will annoy your partner and tell the judge you are not confident in your partner’s abilities. Also discuss if you both are comfortable writing on each other’s flow.

This communication system is especially important for GCX. You need to determine how you both will ask questions and give answer. It can involve notes, tapping a shoulder, placing a hand forward on the desk, or another action that involves as little speaking as possible. The more you speak, the less you will hear what your opponents say and you will waste time. Both partners should have their share of speaking time in GCX. Acknowledge if there is an imbalance of speaking so you can work to correct it.

When speaking to your partner, always confer quietly. Direct your voice away from the judge and the other team in case your voice travels. Stay professional even when conferring.

In all things, work together and find ways to help each other in round. Good in-round communication comes from good communication outside of debates.


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