We all know how challenging planning and giving a session to a hall full of delegates can be. This article series lets you in on 12 secrets that can make your sessions unbeatable, and leave your delegates with an unforgettable experience every single time.
This is part 3.
Secret # 5. The Impact of Workshops
Workshops are generally defined as the “fun” part of a session, where the delegates carry out a practical activity. A successful workshop are a crucial component that can have a stunning impact on the entire session and serve as the highlight of the delegates experience. Although they are masked as the “fun” part, they are the best way to get a difficult academic concept through.
- Always try to link your workshop to the academics of the session.
- Allocate enough time before session to brainstorm for the best workshop and plan its execution.
- Ensure delegate will be able to work to achieve something & that there is a challenge to it.
- It’s preferable that it’s done in groups, and the delegates will get to know each other in it.
- Link to academics. Meaning, in the end, you will clarify the link between what they just did and the concept you were trying to teach them.
- There is a specific lesson or skill it will teach them. Teamwork, analysis, debating, creativity, etc.
- A final wrap up After it is over, the delegate must have come out with a lesson, or particular benefit.
- Always, always, always make it creative/ original as possible.
Bringing us to our next point:
Secret # 6. C.R.E.A.T.I.V.I.T.Y
No word could possibly be more frequently used when evaluating MUN sessions. And for good reason. Generation after generation will tell you, always get creative. It’s the trademark of a winning session, a winning team, and a winning year.
Whether it’s in the games, the presentation slides, the delivery of academics, the newsflash, the competitions, the workshops, the posters, the icebreakers, the wrap ups, the re-caps, the cases or the conference, every part of your session must strive toward groundbreaking creativity from cover to cover, beginning to end.
But isn’t that a little frustrating ? I mean what if I can’t be creative, I don’t have the natural talent for it, or my team isn’t creative as a group ?
I say, don’t fall for that. Creativity may be a talent, but finding creative ideas for sessions and all their content is a whole other game. It is in no way reserved for the “naturally creative”. It requires effort, and energy. It needs exceptional team dynamics, and having structured clear goals for every part of the session, among others.
Here are a few creativity pointers:
- Allocate time for it. Finding creative ideas can be achieved with effort, and resolve.
- Foster team brainstorming/ creativity. If your team is having trouble finding creative ideas as a group effort, then perhaps it’s dynamics you need to revisit.
- Make it personal. Creativity comes from personal inspiration.. Use things you love in your own life to spice up your sessions and create original ideas. Examples from my MUN experience ? Comic Book Superheroes were added to some presentations/ Harry Potter Sorting Hat idea to announce the conference delegations/ A Game of Thrones workshop was used to explain the theory of alliance formation and maintenance/ Godfather workshop was used to explain political lobbying concept/ The Hunger Games Competition between councils. And many more…
- Focus on the goal. Creativity is not a goal in itself, it is a means to an end. If you have a very clear idea of what your workshop/ game aims to achieve/ teach, then finding a suitable list of ideas will come easily. You can spruce up any of your ideas further with creative twists. But, you will have the basic format mapped out, and that will make creativity so much easier.
- Ask Around & get some fresh perspective. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and search for suggestions. You never know who can be the spark of a good idea.
- When stuck, go back to the basics. WHAT do you want to achieve, WHY, HOW, WHERE, WHEN. List them down and start over from there.
Secret # 7. Engagement with Delegates
Want to know why some sessions seem more “fun” than others ? It’s not that this group has it all together, or are innate geniuses. The secret lies in the execution. It’s what can make or break all your hard planning and big dreams. Every step of the session, try to get involved with the delegates, go through the session as one of them & put yourself in their shoes. This will not only set you apart as a secretariat, but give your sessions an advantage that can’t be imitated. Here are some tips on how:
- During a workshop, don’t just lay back and watch. Dive into it with them, without giving them the answers of course. Guide, and share excitement.
- During sessions, whenever you can, sit next to them, and see the lecturer from their viewing point.
- Have as many one on one talks as possible, during and after sessions. Make yourself constantly accessible, share their obstacles every step of the way.
- Be their friend, and you will become a more valued mentor. Not only do you need to engage, but communicate, listen, support, help and resolve.
Secret # 8. Be Yourself.
No cliché’ intended, here’s a secret few people know. Every single generation of secretariats (who were delegates once) look up to their own secretariats. It’s completely natural. The problem is when this “admiration” blinds you to the fact that you, just you, as you are, have massive potential to be an amazing secretariat. I call this: The generation crush. It is so common. We hear things like “But I’m just not that funny” or: “I’ll never be as creative as you”, or other nonsense summing up to the point that we have something they are lacking. I say: snap out of it. It is an absolute illusion.
YOU were chosen to be a secretariat. You don’t have to try to be funny, there is no such thing as “I’m not creative”, and you are more than capable of researching and planning and doing everything the previous generation did and better. That is the truth. You just have to be yourself.
That is when you will become at ease in your sessions. That is when your delegates will see the best part of you. That is when you won’t have to worry about being funny to make them laugh, because they love you so much they would laugh even if you stay still. That is when you will realize finding creative ides is an effort, not a miracle. And that is when you won’t get nervous when remembering what the ones before you did.
Get over the generation crush, fast.
And that links us to the final article in this series. Click here to go to Secret #9.