In Final Argument #4, we presented the basics for how to make your points in the argument. In a recent boot camp, it occurred to me that point-making can be another application of the Advocacy Club’s Five-and-Out Technique.

Consider this sequence during your argument.

1. You make the point as succinctly as possible. If you want to state that the room was too warm, say just that. “The room was too warm.” Consider this your headline, to continue the Five-and-Out theme. Short sentences with simple language. Blunt is good.

2. Now, you explain and apply your point. This is the ‘Five’ component. In fact, there are five questions to answer.

a. How do we know this point is correct? Use your logic. It makes sense once you know these things…

b. How do the witnesses and exhibits prove this? Use the evidence.

c. What is the significance of the point in your case analysis (theory)? Fit your point into the framework of what you are basing your case on.

d. What does your opponent say about it? Summarize accurately your opponent’s position on this point. Be careful not to treat that position disrespectfully. You don’t have to persuade the decision-maker that the point is correct. Just be fair to state it.

e. Why is your opponent wrong? Then, demolish that position. If you can’t, you should try your best to marginalize it. Remember your inoculation strategy choices.

i. Their position makes your case stronger.

ii. Their position is irrelevant or so minor as to be disregarded and has no impact on your point.

iii. Their position has merit, but it doesn’t matter very much.

Then ‘Out’, move on to your next point. Simple, right? So, there you have it. A formula for making your points.