In Part I, we went over some of the most commonly encountered personalities on the circuit and strategies for dealing with them. Now we turn our attention to the final two types of delegates, both of whom, while different as day and night in their strategies, are both masters of the MUN craft.
4. The Puppeteer
The Puppeteer, a unique fixture of the crisis committee, is the master (or mistress) of mayhem. Operating almost exclusively in secret directives sent to the chair and crisis staff, these delegates are the most dangerous of them all. The best Puppeteer will be able to control the entire committee without any of their fellow delegates noticing they’ve been strung up. The Puppeteer can be identified by the sky-high pile of notes hidden behind and beneath their placard, their furious scribbling on various pads of paper at all times, and the sly smile they cannot contain on their face when a crisis (presumably of their doing) is announced. The Puppeteer usually does not speak much in committee—if they’re doing their job right, they don’t have to. They will appropriate others’ assets, orchestrate assassinations, and utilize their portfolio powers to their fullest extent. In short, they are a force to be reckoned with.
Because of their secretive nature, the Puppeteer types are the most difficult to counteract in committee. However, there are measures you can take to ensure that you do not fall victim to one of the Puppeteer’s ploys. When assigned a role in a crisis committee, be sure to devote a good portion of your research to reading up on your fellow delegates in the committee. Scour the bios provided in the background guide and evaluate who your friends and enemies should be. Then delve deeper into historical data or current events to better inform your plan for alliances. Immediately upon entering committee, you should establish connections with your designated allies, and reach out to your “enemies” as well to gauge their personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. Be flexible, and be creative. After all, crisis committees are your chance to indulge your creative side. If you find you are bogged down with Bored Identities as allies or facing a Ringleader as a rival, you may have to rethink your plan of attack. Building a solid network of people you can rely on is crucial to ensuring that the Puppeteer will not be able to pull the proverbial wool over your eyes. However, treat every alliance you forge in a crisis committee with caution—you should trust no one fully, as the nature of a crisis committee is ever-changing. Any exchanges you have involving key or confidential information should be conducted through face-to-face conversations as much as possible; avoid writing sensitive information about your strategy or plans in notes, as the Puppeteer is notorious for intercepting communications between delegates and twisting the information they find in order to break alliances and cast aspersions on others’ intentions. If you think you may be dealing with a Puppeteer, you can always test the waters by feeding them some false or useless information, a red herring if you will, and observing what they do with the information. Do not spend too much of your time worrying about identifying the Puppeteer and trying to trick a confession out of your fellow delegates, however. Your primary focus should be determining who you can and cannot trust, and forging alliances that will allow you to successfully implement your plans and directives.
5. The Aspiring Kissinger
Finally, we have the crème de la crème, and the rarest of breeds, the Aspiring Kissinger. This delegate, while also a so-called “power delegate,” operates in a manner that is entirely distinct from the Ringleader, or even the Puppeteer. The Aspiring Kissinger, as the name implies, is diplomatic to the core. They do not view collaboration as weakness, but rather as a viable method of arriving at the best solution to the problem at hand. They lead by synthesizing, not stealing, everyone else’s ideas, and exude confidence and calm while doing so. They will be the delegate that personally approaches individuals and pulls them aside into a group to hash out a resolution based on everyone’s ideas. You’ll find them outside of the committee room rapidly typing up a mound of sheets of paper with their group’s clauses scrawled upon them. They will speak often and confidently, but with less of the bombast than some of the other types of delegates. Indeed, their practices and policies look very much like the strategies given above for dealing with the Ringleader. Ultimately, the Aspiring Kissinger does not view diplomacy and winning as separate agendas, but instead believes that being a diplomat is the key to doing well in a committee.
Although you will not need to do much to “counter” the Aspiring Kissinger, you should recognize that the doctrine of compromise they are prone to promote, while ideal, does not always happen in practice. Regardless of how perfect and reflective of the body’s opinion you think your resolution or directive is, there will always be at least one aspect of it that is entirely unpalatable to at least one person in the room. Therefore, in order to succeed, you must focus on the less-disputed points of your resolution and redirect any points of contention so that your fellow delegates will view your resolution as being overall beneficial to the goals of the committee, and worth their vote.
While the “types” of delegates examined in this article are, of course, generalizations based on recurring characters in committee and on the circuit, there are valuable lessons to be learned from studying these personalities and ways of working with them. Analyzing and evaluating your fellow delegates will help you formulate your own committee identity, exert influence over other delegates’ policies, positions, and agendas, and, most importantly, be the best delegate that you can be.
Missed “The Five People You Meet on the MUN Circuit, Part I—Common Characters”? Read it here.
Have your own stories or experiences with these types of delegates, or have some more tips for success to share? Leave a comment below!