To be an excellent delegate in Model UN, one must possess a wide variety of different skills. Amongst the deep arsenal of skill, the ability to give quality speeches, write brilliant resolutions and think critically are absolutely pivotal to ones success in Model UN. However the one skill often neglected, or not given nearly as much emphasis as the other aspects, is the ability to socialize and build alliances, specifically bloc building. Thinking back to when I was an amateur delegate, I lacked the skills of public speaking, and wasn’t that impressive of a writer either, but to this day the one aspect of Model UN I never struggle with, was my ability to socialize and build strong relationships, which often meant long lasting friendships. My special skill, allowed me to reach much further in my Mun career than I would’ve imagined. My skill was furthermore developed and refined at the Model United Nations Institute where I learnt how to utilize my skill to the best of their abilities, these are 5 rules of many to live by in order to dominate unmoderated caucuses in any given committee, think of these rules as building blocs, for setting a strong foundation to not only your Mun endeavors, but life in general.
- Feel the room
Contrary to popular belief, being positive isn’t always the best approach, infact speaking from personal experience, positivity can be flat out irritating. Humor, if used in moderation, can be a great tool to unite for a cause and find similar grounds for light hearted dialogues. If the weather is too cold or hot, if the food you had for lunch wasn’t particularly edible, or even if you are sleep deprived from a wild night of delegate socials, these are all foundation blocks for conversation! If you’re feeling negative about a particular issue, chances are someone else is feeling it too. Nonetheless this might not be the case all the time, that’s why it’s imperative to feel the room, if a resolution just passed and everyone is happy, don’t complain about how there is cat hair all over your suit. If your neighboring delegate has multiple bags under her eyes, maybe it’s not the best time to talk about how rejuvenated you feel after a good night’s rest.
- Know your committee
For any given committee you attend, separate the room into three demographics. The first of these being the enthusiastic delegates- those who are super eager to participate, bearing multiple binders full of research and multiple lapel pins. Next is the moderately enthusiastic delegate, the person who did the research but probably didn’t have the time or motivation to put it in an actual binder. And lastly we have the unenthusiastic delegate, with little to no research, and counting down the seconds in which he or she gets to go home because they’re only there for extra credit in their world history class. Although it’s hard to understand why anyone wouldn’t be psyched about Model UN, being able to have positive interactions with as many people as possible is a key to succeeding in committee. Therefore it’s best to develop strategies for each respective demographic. For the enthusiastic bunch, talk strictly about policies and potential solutions, they are more inclined to open up and support you, if they see good ideas and strong research. For the moderately enthusiastic delegates, talk about why the solution matters to their country, region or continent, every now and then mix in some casual conversation. And for the last demographic, introduce yourself with your name and school, not as your character or country, it would be wise to start off with some casual conversation unrelated to Model UN, then slowly edge towards the topic and discuss your ideas briefly and discreetly, for the most part unenthusiastic delegates are just waiting for someone to engage them in the debate. Being pleasant to all delegations will gain a valuable allies in committee and lifelong friends. It’s important to develop your own strategy and hit all three demographics. Remember that a vote is a vote, it doesn’t matter from whom it comes from.
- Bigger isn’t always better
Are you intimidated by a lot of people? Don’t worry you’re not alone, the hectic nature of a large bloc during Unmods can hinder progress. if there are more than 20 people in a bloc, and you notice that it’s the same 5 people talking, try branching off and making your own bloc. Find a relatable, popular sub topic on the issue, ask other disengaged members of the previous large bloc if they would be interested in something like this, and before you know it, you just made your own team! The more popular a bloc gets, the more people you attract, humans have an inert desire to be with the more popular group.
- Keep an open mind
A wise delegate once told me, “ There are good qualities in every bad idea” even if they are ridiculous ideas, try not to blatantly shut it down completely, use phrases such as “I like it a lot, but how about we…” or “Lets try looking at another perspective” and my personal favorite “That’s a great idea! I was thinking the same thing, but instead of … let’s try …” by using these phrases and others like it, you are including bits and pieces of their idea, while incorporating some of yours. This empowers other delegates to keep thinking and brainstorming and help them feel like they are contributing even if their ideas don’t make it into the final resolution. This creates strong allies, valuable voters, and an altogether good energy in committee.
- Confidence is key
First impressions are hard to change, some people decide if they would like work with you, within seconds of meeting you. For that reason it’s crucial to set a great first impression, this last tip is to don’t limit your social interactions to just unmods. We take breaks in Model UN for a reason, so be wary of working through lunch and dinner and bathroom breaks. Introduce yourself before committee even starts, socialize during lunches or dinners, even the small breaks in between committee sessions are great opportunities to talk. The idea is to really form great team chemistry, because at the end of the day, Model UN is about meeting new people and having a great time, additionally being connected to your bloc means having a support system in committee, suddenly you’re speeches will be better, you won’t feel anxious before you speak, your resolution will also be better, etc.