By Sanah Mehta
It’s never easy sitting in that conference hall, surrounded by countless other delegations –– the eager, the fighter, the hard worker and the researcher, all colliding in a heated debate to push forward their country’s interests.
At this point, mastering your speeches and learning to direct the flow of the council debate are not just good skills, they’re invaluable weapons in the artillery of the best delegate.
This article will give you a set of small, yet powerful tools to turn your speeches from good, to influential, effective, and very well remembered.
The DOs :
- Come prepared –– To start discussing your point of view, you must actually have one well formed. Make sure that before you walk into the room, you understand the topic fully, know your country’s stance on the case very well, and are prepared with a strong opening statement. Do not just come prepared with papers or speeches written down, but with your delegation’s weaknesses, previous issues, economic weaknesses, and questionable actions about the case and prepare rebuttals for them.
- Maintain diplomacy –– The biggest indicator of a valued debate is that the two opponents respect each other. Think of presidential debates: shake hands, exchange compliments, and then get down to business. Respect the other delegates, even if they are completely opposed to your opinion or bloc. This will make you look more professional, and serve to strengthen your arguments, not vice versa.
- Use facts –– The backbone of your speeches should be facts. No one can argue with facts. They can however, certainly argue with opinions. Facts are a commonly ignored, yet a pivotal weapon in debate strengthening. They make you believable; provide credibility and make your speeches virtually indestructible.
- The best debater is the best listener –– If you think that the best debater is the one who talks the most… Think again. You can keep talking, but if you don’t listen very carefully to what other delegations (your opponent) is saying, your speeches will be void, it will be as if you are talking in an empty room. Remember, your speeches should be based on what the other delegates are saying.
- Always believe in your argument –– If you don’t believe it, neither will anyone else in the room. Become your delegation. This will imprint on all your speeches, and the way that you say them, and how you act in the caucus, and how you perform in the whole conference. You must believe the defences and justifications you give to defend this nation and it’s people in a simulated environment, in which a true crisis is being discussed.
The DON’Ts :
- Never underestimate your opponent –– People have an astounding potential to surprise you, and MUN brings out the best in most of us. If you underestimate a delegate that seems unprepared, chances are, he will later start showing you just how hard he is prepared, and end up bringing out his best in that conference.
- Never lose your cool –– No matter how heated things get, no matter how provoked you become or pressured you feel, do not lose your cool, composure, and air of being collected and in control. In the eyes of your audience, this is a sign of defeat.
- Don’t feel like winning is everything –– MUN is all about understanding and forming opinions about current world issues and gaining the knowledge of debating on them. Your first MUN conference should instil in you a sense of confidence to speak in front of a big audience, without shaking in your boots. And that is your biggest take home, not a trophy.