Contrasting Communication Styles: The Differences Between Debate and Discussion


Understanding the distinction between debate and discussion can significantly improve our communication skills. Here, we’ll unravel the unique characteristics of these two forms of dialogue.


A debate typically involves two parties taking opposing stands on a topic. The primary goal is to prove one’s own standpoint as correct, often through the process of discrediting the other’s argument. Techniques used might include voice modulation, emotional appeals, and sometimes personal attacks. Intriguingly, the winner of a debate could be considered the loser in reality, as they may not truly gain an expanded understanding of the issue.

In a discussion, two or more parties explore all sides of a topic. The aim here is not to ‘win’, but to unearth the truth or reach a mutual understanding. Discussions are usually conducted in a cooperative manner, utilizing existing knowledge and comprehension. In a discussion, everyone emerges as a winner due to the shared learning and insights gained.


So, which communication style suits your purpose better – debate or discussion?