Stay on topic, but don't get personal作者：21ST 时间：2008-04-16 期号：750
THE Questions and Answers session is the last part of the 21st Century Lenovo Cup English Speaking Competition. Contestants are asked two or three questions, often based on speeches they have made in previous sessions. They give a on
A speaker was asked a question about the philosopher Plato. He answered by saying that Plato was wrong and then defended his argument.
"The young man had the courage and wits to challenge a highly respected thinker. It's quite impressive. Many contestants try to please everyone by saying that 'something is good, but that it also has some disadvantages'. When you include everything in your statement, you weaken your major points. Usually, disagreement shows that you have your own idea instead of just following the opinions of others."
By Alexander McLaren, a public diplomacy officer with the Embassy of the US
"Good speakers put true emotions into their answers. This says they believe in the words that they've spoken. If a speaker just states the answer mechanically, it won't be as persuasive."
By Mark Novak, associate vice-president of International and Extended Studies at San Jose State University, US
"Some speakers didn't answer the question. Perhaps they didn't grasp the question. Or perhaps they found it hard to provide an answer. They chose to go the easy way by saying irrelevant things that they are familiar with. Also, they sometimes relied on commonly used proverbs or metaphors that don't speak to the topic at all. My advice for speakers is to directly answer the question. An answer that is short is fine as long as it addresses the issue."
By Susan Chyn, president of Susan Chyn English Center
"It's good that speakers relate their own experience, but this doesn't mean that they can touch upon all topics. Love and relationships are still private; it's not proper to talk about them in a place as public as a speaking competition."
By Li Yanshu, professor of English at Beijing Language and Culture University
"I found that some speakers' answers were superficial because they failed to offer concrete support for their opinions. It's imp
By Liu Jun, professor and head of the English department at the University of Arizona
Interviews by Xu Weiwei