You’ve just arrived at the conference; your placard is folded under your arm along with your notepad and your laptop. You arrive at committee about five to ten minutes before roll call and you scope out the location of a seat that makes you feel comfortable. You want the Chair to see you, but you don’t want to seem overeager. Your fellow delegates stroll around the room and you’re subconsciously taking notice of their “presence.” You’re judging their “western business attire” and you’re looking for other recognizable faces from previous conferences you’ve attended. The social game has begun and you’re hoping to be a big part of it.
Everyone is finally seated, roll call ends, the speaker’s list is being compiled and your placard is raised. They haven’t called on you yet but it’s no big deal. You’ve already introduced yourself to your neighbor and he might be interested in forming a bloc with you since you’re representatives from the same region.
Ten minutes later, the first few speakers have finished their 1-minute introduction and they’ve been pretty predictable so you’re feeling pretty good about your own prepared position speech on the topics. Then, suddenly you hear a speaker whose voice powerfully echoes throughout the room. You have no idea who she is or what her policy is, but you can tell that she’s going to win an award.
“What does that girl know? How did she get so good at this? How do I learn how to speak like that?”
We at Model UN Education now would like to ask you a few questions:
- Has your advisor taught you about good body language?
- Does your president insist that you must smile when you meet new people?
- Have you learned the importance of making good eye contact with other delegates when you are speaking?
- Do you know how to show that you passionately care about your position (even if you don’t) and do you carry that emotion into your speeches?
- Have you even heard about any of this “social intelligence” and how important it is for strong leadership?
When we started advising the Model UN club at our public high school, we noticed that these social traits of leadership were the hardest skills to teach. We have always had a straightforward program for teaching research skills and resolution writing, and we always make several copies of the list of motions and points for parliamentary procedure. But we realized that we needed to TRAIN THE DELEGATE’S PERSONALITY TO DEMONSTRATE CHARISMA AND CONFIDENCE! We had to develop their character and their disposition into the mold of a LEADER. We have always had intelligent students who could easily grasp the infrastructure problems in the Republic of Congo after reading a few online articles, but their intelligence didn’t help them shake our hands firmly and hold confident eye contact with a straight face for more than a second or two.
So we stepped up our own training and we made some major changes. We developed a program to train our club members to be social, confident, charismatic, and interactive. We showed them how a good leader shakes hands. We showed them how to put their shoulders back, stop fidgeting, and smile. Every negotiation starts from a relationship. If you don’t build the relationship first, you will not have a beneficial negotiation. This is obvious, isn’t it? The kids in science class who hate their lab partners never have a good time doing a lab, never mind writing the final report.
Before you become the best delegate, you need to be educated. You need to be Model UN Educated. You need to be MUN-E.
We realized that club advisors in most schools have never done Model UN before. Some of your advisors might be in their first year of ever helping out with your club. Trust us, training delegates is extremely difficult when you have no experience with this activity and there are very few activities as complex and unpredictable as Model UN.
As a delegate, you have to make order out of chaos. Your voice has to lead the charge for common sense and compromise. Model UN can regress into a carnival of misbehavior without a voice of reason. You might not feel comfortable being that voice, but don’t be afraid; we’ve written the book that teaches you how to become this delegate. Our students are well-respected AND well-liked. They’ve won best large and small delegation awards at the largest Model UN conferences in the world. Our number one goal is to make them feel good about their Model UN experience. They win awards because their leadership traits naturally develop into a passion for success. We don’t try and push them or force them to be something they are not, we just troubleshoot their demonstration of value and personality because they care about being outspoken and noticed among their peers. All this good information (as well as the basics of Position Papers, Resolutions, and Parliamentary Procedure) is in our book, MUN-E.
Do you know how to stop an argument before it begins and redirect the conversation so that you start from a foundation of agreement and compromise? That’s in Chapter 5. Do you know what “rapport” is and can you tell when you’re “in rapport” with another person? That’s in Chapter 3. Can you turn off that little voice that makes you question yourself when you’re on stage practicing your public speaking? We take you through that in Chapter 2. Have you ever read anything that prepares you for a Crisis Committee? We dedicate all of Chapter 9 to the flow, structure, and debate of Crises and Specialized Agencies. Lastly, have you heard of all the shady things that those super-aggressive delegates try when they attempt to cut other delegates out of their resolutions, steal their bloc, or sabotage their USB drives? We discuss ways to protect yourself and your fellow delegates from these “Gavel Hunters” in Chapters 4, 6, and Chapter 10: our chapter on the Dark Arts of MUN.rce them to be something they are not, we just troubleshoot their demonstration of value and personality because they care about being outspoken and noticed among their peers. All this good information (as well as the basics of Position Papers, Resolutions, and Parliamentary Procedure) is in our book, MUN-E.
What you also might not realize is that the skills of Model UN can change your life. After confidently speaking in front of a room of 200 delegates, interviews become a breeze. After you’ve convinced the entire GA that your resolution is worth voting for, a simple argument with your friend seems more like a fun challenge than an emotional uncertainty. Can you imagine knowing what it feels like to be supported by a group of strangers that believe in you and your ideas? You would feel like a leader and you’ll begin to believe that you have the power to change the world, because you can.
We’ve written the laws of the MUNIVERSE. And we’re sure you can use them if you’re looking to get better at Model UN. As already mentioned, the skills we teach can also make you better at nearly everything else that requires your voice, your passion, and your leadership. Not only won’t you find any other complete strategy guides on Model UN, you won’t find a better one than MUN-E.