Everyone knows the first Model UN club meeting will be the largest of the year. Tons of students who you’ve recruited are interested in learning more to see if Model UN is worth their time in joining. And in most cases, you want as many of them to join as possible, and this will require running a solid first meeting.
A great first MUN club meeting requires some preparation work before the meeting, a compelling and concise presentation during the meeting, and some follow-up work for after the meeting. Here are 15 tips for running a great first MUN club meeting divided into those three aforementioned categories:
Before the Meeting
1. Practice the agenda. Make sure you know who will present what, the time allotted to each presenter, and the order of the presenters. It looks much more professional and is much easier to absorb when people only focus on listening to one person and the message is concise.
2. Set up a banner. Like we mentioned in “Recruit Like a Best Delegate,” a banner is a great way to convey that the club is established and prestigious. Have it hanging visibly at the first meeting.
3. Check A/V. If you are using any audio/visual or media, make sure it works. A broken microphone or inability to play a video means you won’t be able to get your message across as effectively as you had planned.
4. Wear the team T-shirts. This clearly brands the officers and lets prospective members know who they can talk to for more information.
5. Greet people before the meeting starts. Greeting people before the meeting shows how inviting and personable your club can be. It will make prospective members feel like they have a better personal connection. You can even make it a goal for the entire executive board to have met everyone at the meeting.
During the Meeting
6. Smile. It’s very simple but not enough people do it. It makes a big difference — officers who smile as they present convey confidence and show that the club is fun.
7. Introduce yourself and key officers. Make sure to briefly introduce yourself and your title at the beginning of your presentation and to introduce the next speaker. The President of the club may also want to introduce other key officers so people are aware of who they are.
8. Clearly explain what Model UN is. Make sure you are ready to clearly explain what MUN is and how it works. I’ve seen so many MUN experts stumble on explaining this to someone who has never seen a committee in action before. Keep in mind that your audience is new to this, so don’t use MUN jargon. An example could be “students represent different countries and try to solve real world issues based on the policy of their country.”
9. Sell people on why they should join. There are great reasons and educational benefits to joining Model UN. Preach Model UN to others. Share with them how it is fun, how it is educational in terms of both the skills and knowledge you can learn, how it is good for college admissions (or jobs and grad school if you’re already in college), etc.
10. Give them something to look forward to. Tell them how they can get involved. Highlight the premier events such as the conference(s) your team hosts and the conferences that your team plans to travel to. Make sure to emphasize the major event that everyone on the club should sign up for (e.g. your host conference or the major travel conference).
11. Use multimedia. Pictures or video can significantly help recruiting. They do a much better job at showing how fun Model UN can be. More important, they can be used to show how Model UN looks like in action since many people may still not understand how Model UN works.
12. Answer questions. Take some time to answer questions. There will usually be questions about time commitment, about whether or not someone needs prerequisite skills and experience to join (the answer should be no because you’ll train them!), about how a typical day in committee looks like, about different conference staffing roles, etc.
Before Ending the Meeting
13. Distribute the sign-up form or link. Everyone should have a sign-up form or a link to your Google spreadsheet application form (ideally they would receive these as they walk through the door). If there’s one thing you want them to do after this meeting, it is to fill out this form and bring it back to the next meeting!
14. Stay afterward. You want to be approachable to meet more members and to answer new members’ questions. Similar to greeting people as they walk through the door, this is another way to build more personal connections with prospective members.
15. Invite them to a meet-and greet social. You should organize a social so that you can get to know the interested members better in an informal environment. These socials are effective for retention because people join clubs for both the club and the type of people in them. For college clubs, this is a valuable opportunity to learn about the new talent you’ve just recruited (e.g. their Model UN experience in high school).
And finally, remind them about the next meeting date, time, and location and for them to bring back their sign-up form (and club fees if applicable) and that you look forward to seeing them next time!
What other tips do you have for running a great first meeting?