In my last post, I wrote about choosing “your” committee. Now that you’ve picked your committee, either the one you want to specialize in or just for this upcoming conference, do enough research and preparation to give yourself the best shot at winning Best Delegate.
But maybe you’re asking: why? Perhaps you’ve been told, “MUN is BS.” This implies that winning doesn’t require research. And maybe you’ve seen a friend go into committee having read nothing but the topic paper–if that–and win Best Delegate.
Maybe he won on his personality and charisma. Perhaps everyone in committee liked him and he seemed knowledgeable at the same time, so he won an award. And bravo to him; he can start his own website.
But I bet that he did more research than you think. I don’t mean he secretly read UN resolutions on the bus when you weren’t looking. I mean that good delegates tend to follow current events, watch the news, and read newspapers, journals, and magazines. Following current events can teach you more than reading any topic paper or UN resolution. So while it seems that your friend is making it all up, he’s actually drawing upon a wealth of knowledge and applying it to his topic. That’s not BS; that’s great.
Regardless, this is still not a consistent way to win. Your friend might win Best after Best until he comes up against someone who’s just as funny but actually knows what he’s talking about. Your friend’s competitive advantage is gone; the other guy will call him out on whatever he says.
But don’t forget that the strategy we laid out is to maximize your probability of winning given your circumstances. You can’t choose the quality of the other delegates in your committee. They might or might not be funnier or smarter than you. But all things being equal, someone who does some research will probably do better than someone who doesn’t at all.
Clearly, you should invest some time in research prior to the conference. The trick is to research only as much as necessary so that a) you don’t waste time and b) you don’t look like a know-it-all. Plus, research is a skill that MUN can help you develop and will actually help you later in life. So, do some.
Despite that, here’s the rub: we all make it up anyway. We’re students and we’re roleplaying; of course we don’t know everything. In fact, the guy who pretends he does will most likely not win. No matter how much research you do, you won’t know as much as the guy who’s actually paid to sit in the General Assembly Hall. At some point, you have to make inferences, i.e. make up information based on what you do know. Knowing how to do that is also a crucial skill. But don’t let that be your only one.
So, do your research. The only reason not to is laziness. Don’t tell me you don’t have time; make some. And in my next post, I’ll lay out the most efficient way to research so you don’t waste any.