12 Secrets to Giving the BEST Model UN Sessions – Part 4

by nabila.elassar on March 13, 2015

We all know how challenging planning and giving a training 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.

GUCMUN 2013 North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Final Session

GUCMUN 2013 North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Final Session

This is part 4, and the final part for this series.

Secret # 9. The Mystery Factor

 

It’s usually overlooked, sometimes even not noticed. But, another little secret successful sessions have is the mystery factor. It’s the simple strategy of constantly promising something even better, creating anticipation for every single session coming up, or for the remainder of the session if you’re already in it. Sort of like the end of an episode of an exciting show, how it makes you want to watch the next one.

Simple, yet quite powerful.

Here are some how to tips on the illusion of mystery in your sessions to create anticipation:

  • Before the session: always announce something that will trigger curiosity, anticipation, or interest in attending. Examples ?
    • A simple “Don’t miss it, it will be amazing, or you’ll be surprised”, goes a long way.
    • Create a funny abstract video highlighting what you’ll cover.
    • Give out clues, like pictures of something you’ll talk about. It doesn’t have to be clear, and the first person to get it right could get a prize during the next session of some kind.
    • Have riddles to describe a main plot in the next session in one sentence. Riddles can be quite time consuming but well worth the effort. The correct guess could also get a prize.
    • It’s okay to keep it short, sweet & simple. Just make sure that they are excited to get to that session.
  • During the session: They’re already here, now what?
    • Thank them for coming to this “Special” session (Every session is special for a different reason). The wait is over, and now with what they’ve been anticipating.
    • Keep highlighting that the best is yet to come all throughout the session and after it.
  • After the session: encourage next week’s attendance & announce its clue or teasers.

Secret # 10. Council Spirit

 

The strongest fulfillment that can come to your delegates from attending your sessions is feeling like part of a solid team/ family/ unit. Council spirit is the unique identity of your delegates group, and their pride in that identity. It is like a magic wand. Anything works better with it, and things will never truly be complete without it. It is your sessions and your whole council’s crowning jewel.

Checklist to foster council spirit in/ through the sessions ?

  • From the very first session, add games and workshops that allow for mingling & acquainting.
  • On occasion, divide them up into random teams (but change them every time) in which there is a competition and one team will win as a whole.
  • Keep close track of & maintain in-council dynamics throughout every session and the year. (How the delegates deal with each other).
  • Pair up the right people. Know your delegates enough to be able to determine which people would work best together, either to challenge them, or to make their work easier.
  • Highlight that our council is the BEST. Highlight that we are a team !
  • Joint council workshops/ competitions are usually a sure fire way to stimulate council spirit.
  • Create a council chant. Even if simply shouting out its name. Just get them used to shouting out their councils name as a team.

And that brings us to the end of the session, and the next part.

Secret # 11. Feedback & Continuous Improvement

 

Your job doesn’t end at the end of the session, it actually starts. Once the session is over, nothing should be more valuable to you than continuous honest constructive feedback.

Feedback from your high board, trainers or supervisors, feedback from your team, and feedback from your delegates. This will be your progress checker, & insurance your sessions are either having the effect you intended, or need tweaking.

Value it with all you have. If you truly want your sessions to become legendary, you must give yourself the chance to learn from your mistakes, and constantly improve, in your work, and on a personal level. That’s what this entire experience is about.

Checklist Tips to utilize feedback from all sources:

  • ASK your delegates. Find a creative system for collecting feedback separately and anonymously from them every session. Either collect notes in the end in a special “bowl”, collect it online through a private messaging system, or ask them personally. The key is that your audience get to voice their feedback, and you get to know & use it.
  • Ask for feedback from your high board or trainers, and listen carefully to the remarks.
  • Never take it personally, ignore it or avoid it. The purpose of feedback is your benefit. If you find yourself resisting specific remarks, ask yourself why first. If you feel you’re working too hard and don’t deserve to be criticized, I must inform you that you are being defensive.
  • Remember you do have the free choice of either following feedback or not. You are a secretariat and your council is in the end your own responsibility & you are the one closest to it. Just make sure you can tell when you are resisting because you are defensive, or due to a simple difference in direction or opinion.

After feedback, comes planning for the session again. And this is where this last crucial point comes into play.

Secret # 12. The Right Perspective

 

Do you remember the time when you were a delegate? Do you remember what you thought, liked, disliked or hoped to achieve ?

Most of us forget too often & too soon. This can have two impacts: stage fright, and improperly designing the sessions.It is understandable that we get caught up in all the grueling secretariat work, research, planning, goal setting & strategizing. The key however is to remember to alter your perspective to the delegates perspective. Remember, they  do not always see what you see. What matters to you, is not necessarily what matters to them. This may be your session, but they are the audience, and they are the output.  You must know how to think like them at every point in time.

  1. Understand your delegates, and you will overcome stage fright. Remember, they woke up at 8 am on a weekend, got dressed, got on a bus & came all the way here just to hear YOU speak. This is a list of key descriptions of the typical delegate. This is the person you are dealing with:
  • A delegate admires you, respects you & wants to see you succeed.
  • A delegate wants your approval. You are his reassurance that he is proving himself.
  • A delegate is waiting to learn from you.
  • A delegate essentially likes you very much, looks up to you actually. Or he most certainly wants to like you.
  • You have just been given the chance to change this person’s future. And yes. I mean that. What you teach him, or how you make him develop may just change his entire life. Approach it that way.

This all applies to you. Neither you nor your delegates are an exception.  The essential nature of the role of the secretariat ensures they will always be looking up to you, no matter what happens. You are doing something they never did. They are here to see you, & they want you to do well, and they want to enjoy watching you. Otherwise, they would have stayed in bed on a weekend. So stop fearing them, and get moving!

  1. Compare Delegate Needs With Your Session’s Design – Changes Needed ??
A Secretariat wants..The hard work spent on researching and preparing the years academics put to use. To enrich the session with strong academic material and make a tangible difference in the delegates knowledge and analytical thinking.Great ! But do you know what a delegate is probably thinking >?  A Delegate wants:To have fun, make friends, be surprised, be entertained, join & participate, do something I never did before, speak up, learn & understand something new, win at something, become more politically aware, & PROVE MYSELF…while attending a session for a Model of The United nations…

Do your goals need to be aligned with theirs? Or perhaps, should your perspective in how to deliver the session, and what to worry vs. not worry about change? It’s not about doing exactly what they want. It’s about giving them what you want in the way they prefer to receive it.

And that is how you give sessions that make an impact, and end up being remembered by countless generations to come.

Secret # 13. Forget Everything I Just Said.

 

Always remember why you are a secretariat in the first place. You are essentially there to help delegates achieve certain benchmarks of growth & development. This blog series aims to help you do that. But, whether you apply all the points listed here or not, remember, your main goal is that your delegates are happy, that they make you proud, and that you are proud of your yourself.

If you have that after every session, then honorable secretariat, you are already there. Your sessions are doing their job, and you are already changing lives. So get excited !

 

I’d LOVE to hear your feedback. Did you think this article was helpful ? What else would like to see me write on Best Delegate ?!

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