Formal debate is verbal combat in a regulated format. It is intense, often with great stakes, and not for the faint of heart. But the skills it requires would aid anyone with leadership responsibility who needs to sharpen her skills of argumentation and persuasion. And the process of learning how to do it right can be both highly educational and even fun, like an intellectual game.
Unless you are a college debater or a political activist, you may never need to have a formal public argument that has to stick precisely to traditional debate technicalities. However, you may find opportunities to present ideas you are passionate about in a variety of situations. You find yourself leading the charge against dropping sports at your son's school and want to make sure other parents hear your views; or, you feel strongly that certain industry trends are dangerous and want to challenge their perpetuators at a trade show; or, your church is becoming divided over an issue in which you have some expertise and you feel it would be helpful for everyone to hear all sides.
Whether the issue is big or small, providing some rules for the discussion can ensure fairness for participants and help members of the audience reach conclusions. But before the format options are discussed, you will need some of the basic debate terminology.