Our Starters Guide to Lobbying

Lobbying is the ability to build bridges with other delegations while securing their support for your delegation’s stance on an issue. As an essential skill in 21st-century classrooms & workplaces – you’re probably doing it on a daily basis! A simple example, while you’re staying at home (as we all are), you might want to order pizza for dinner, but everyone else wants to order different cuisines; instead of heading into an open argument with everyone, you just engage in brief one-on-one discussions to gather support for pizza, till, dinner time comes and there’s your pizza for dinner! 

This blog focuses on lobbying tips for MUN conferences, in 3 possible scenarios: lobbying with individual delegates, a bloc, or addressing the entire committee. Before approaching delegates, you must have a good grasp on your committee’s topic, and your country’s foreign policy towards that topic – it’ll help you adapt to any scenario and adjust your lobbying strategies accordingly.  

Individual Delegates

In small councils, you have a better chance of knowing who represents which delegation, and through your research, have a basic idea of their stance. Your lobbying strategy should be to build rapport & find common ground. Approach everyone, you may find mutual interests you didn’t consider earlier, by bouncing off ideas while lobbying! This simply increases your chances of persuading them with your stance and gain their support.   

In large councils, don’t spend too much time with each delegate you approach, since you need to reach more people, faster – remember that other delegates are also lobbying for their interests. You should have a list of keywords that summarize your main talking points; mention them in your first minute of talking to delegates and see if there is enough common ground to secure their support. If there isn’t, don’t fret, it’s expected. Excuse yourself from the conversation and look for other delegates to approach. After a few individual conversations, you’ll need to resort to addressing blocs. 

Blocs

A bloc is a group of delegations who share common, or similar, interests in a certain issue. Usually formed on geographic, political, or economic bases, or a combination of them; securing the support of a bloc is essential in larger MUN Committees. Done right, you can even formulate a bloc when there are a number of delegations that share your country’s interest & perspective on the topic.   

Every bloc needs a leader to work efficiently and productively. The initial interactions between bloc members determine who will that be; without being forceful, take all initiatives to take charge of the bloc, showcase your knowledge about the topic, and come up with creative solutions that suit everyone in your bloc. But beware of playing all your cards too early, otherwise, you may run out of contributions to make to the bloc.  

When approaching other blocs, try to fish out what they are working on, and if you can substantively add to their work don’t hesitate to join them. If a bloc is not working on something you can contribute to, try to get them to support your bloc’s working paper. 

The Committee

Your speeches are your ultimate tool to spread the word about your stance to those you didn’t or couldn’t reach out to during caucuses. By delivering captivating speeches, you leave an outstanding impression within the council, leading other delegates to negotiate with you and further understand your stance! For more tips on public speaking, refer to our “4 Activities to Brush Up Your MUN Skills!” blog post.  

To be an exceptional lobbyist, you must ensure that your points are mentioned in the resolution and will pass by the majority of votes – if not consensus. Here is when lobbying gets intense! With the right strategy, you’ll be able to address delegation’s objections to your resolution & sway the neutral votes on the issue to your side.  

Remember to always be friendly and inclusive to everyone’s input and interests, even if you don’t intend to persuade them. A successful lobbyist is one that has many delegations echoing their voice in the committee. Finally, you must be consistent and determined to not give up on your interests. 

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About the Author

Mohamed El Beblawy is a graduating senior at AUC who has been an active member of the MUN community for 8 years. Beblawy has participated in many international conferences receiving a number of awards. Currently, he is the Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs in Catalysts 4 Change MUN.