MUN 101 Speaking and Caucusing Confidence Speaking and caucusing is the most essential aspect of Model United Nations, but also the most nerve-wracking. No matter how nervous a delegate is, however, they must attempt to appear as confident as possible. No matter how large the room is, and how many people are in it, act as though each and every one of them is your friend, or at least a familiar business associate. Speaking Delegates should always be attempting to speak, especially at the beginning of committee session. Take every opportunity you have to speak, even if you don’t necessarily have anything really new to say – elaborate on your previous speeches or those of your allies. If you are nervous, make your first speech a little shorter to break your nerves, or bring a few notes up with you. Try not to read from your position paper or an entirely pre-written speech. Half the battle is making your first speech. It becomes easier with every speech thereafter. There are a lot of tricks to speaking effectively, but what is most important is that delegates develop comfort with speaking to their committee and eventually learn to enjoy the process. The Practice of Refinement Over the duration of their MUN career, speakers should work on practicing these skills: As mentioned before, try to avoid having your entire speech written word for word on a sheet of paper. Instead, write down key points. This allows your speech to sound less robotic and more genuine. Furthermore, try not to use filler words such “umm,” “uhh,” or “like.” Pause if necessary. Try to stand up as straight as possible, and to avoid fidgeting if you can. Don’t sway back and forth. Try to use your hands to gesture and provide emphasis. Project your voice without shouting. No one wants to be shouted at, but everyone should be able to hear what you say. The Practice of Refinement Try to avoid repeating exactly what previous speakers have said. Say what you think, and what you believe should be done differently. If you agree with previous speakers, acknowledge what they’ve said, then expand and elaborate. The best speakers distinguish themselves from the crowd. Use any key words that you know of for the topic you are discussing, instead of saying “that agency” give the acronym. But as a warning, only use words that you understand. Spitting key words and acronyms at random will backfire. Expert speakers will exhibit passion in their speeches, and this will manifest differently from speaker to speaker, including variations in tone of voice, as well as various hand gestures. Whatever your style, passion is essential. Finally, try to time speeches to fill your allotted time without going over. This is easier said than done, and requires practice, but is possible with a bit of effort. Caucusing Caucusing mostly shares its skill set with speaking. Important characteristics to display while caucusing include passion, confidence, and intelligence. As with speaking, one’s first time caucusing is the most difficult. If you’re nervous, try passing a note before caucus to allies saying that you would love to hear what they have to say, then work with them during the caucus. Once you have your bearings, try to involve yourself with other groups and bring other people into yours. The Actual Caucus When caucus begins it is often hectic and overwhelming. There are often several large congregations of people scattered around the room, often yelling at one another. Delegates should stay calm and pursue at least one of two options: Delegates can make their own circle. This is done by asking allies to meet you before caucus, or by starting a regional discussion, as well as gathering wandering delegates. Delegates can also plunge into one of the other discussions. This is more difficult. Delegates will need to assert themselves in the ongoing discussion to make a difference. Try to shift the focus from the current caucus leader to yourself. A mixture of these two strategies is most effective. Caucus Tips Make a connection. While it is easy to learn someone’s country name, try to learn their real names as well. The more you can connect to people on a intellectual and social level, the more they will want to work with you. Understand who stands for what, and what others want to do. Delegates can either take mental notes or physical ones to retain this information. Try not to be unnecessarily rude. Interrupt others as little as possible. However, if others interrupt you, stand up for yourself. Furthermore, if others do not give you a chance to speak, create one for yourself, even if you have to interrupt another person to do it. Caucus Tips No delegate in the room is going to agree completely with what you believe. Rather than sticking exclusively to your beliefs, try instead to create a set of values and ideas upon which many nations can agree, while sticking as close to your own country’s beliefs as possible. When deconstructing another delegate's ideas, try not to be too blunt. Constructive criticism is key to bringing them around to your side. Furthermore, when you shoot down one plan, be sure you’re able to offer an alternative. Use your time effectively. Delegates are rarely given as much time as they want for unmoderated caucus, so stick to the point and don’t get drawn into arguments over minutia.
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