A Point of Information
is when, in a debate
, an opponent
of the speaker
raises a question in an attempt to disturb the flow of their speech
or expose a vulnerability
in their argument
. They are integral
in debating competition
s (such as in Parliamentary Debating
) but also occur in legislative institutions
to some extent.
It is important to note that the speaker does not need to take the question at all. They either ignore you or ask you (politely of course) to sit down. There is also often protected time where there can be no Points of Information. This protected time is usually the first minute and the last minute of the speech. This allows the orator to make their introducion and conclusion unhindered.
These Points of Information are usually raised by standing up with one arm out. It is believed that this derives from the British Parliament where, in antiquity, to raise a question the Right Hourable Gentleman had to stand up, one arm outstretched and place the other hand on his head to prove that he was not about to shoot the orator.
Points of Information are often vital in winning a debate since it shows the judges that you are thinking on your feet and able to out smart the orator. It also will hopefully ruin the momentum of their speech making them make mistakes later on. You can hit problems though if the point you are trying to make is expertly put down by the orator. Just make sure that it is reasonable and you should be fine. You should try to give some Points of Information but don't get too eager. The judges will get annoyed if you keep interrupting the speech that they are listening to. Three or four is a good number (depending on the length on the speeches you may want to do more) but the speaker will probably take about two of your questions. This way they come across as willing to listen to others but doesn't let them interfere.