Soon enough, you’re about to embark on a journey towards knowledge, diplomacy, and intuition. You’re confident that the long hours of research and piles of reports are finally going to pay off once you step into the committee, but you can’t brush off your anxiety and fear.
In my first MUN conference, I was shy; barely able to get a word out, or brave raising my placard – something about being in a room full of people in formal-dress led me to believe that they were smarter and better than I could ever be. However, the first time you stand on that podium, with your opening speech in hand, creates a feeling of importance and power that is like no other. But how is it possible to overcome those insecurities and find yourself acting as if you are the next UN Secretary General?
To stand out amongst delegates throwing around past-treaties, articles, and facts, you must know your stuff! Your confidence as an MUN delegate is based on how well you understand the committee’s agenda topics, as well as your past/current and counter policies to truly become your given country. Keep yourself organized and create a file with all of your research material to refer to when writing resolutions, speeches and controlling the debate. If you’re not sure where to start, check out our 5 tips to boost your research game!
Part of your research is also to understand who your allies and opponents are, their history ant notable stances on the agenda topics. You may be lucky enough to be in a committee with some familiar faces, however, that may not always be the case. Don’t forget that everyone is just as afraid and anxious as you are, therefore, don’t hesitate to go up and introduce yourself to your allies. Showing initiative while lobbying is crucial, you can find out more about lobbying here.
To be able to stand in the face of a large crowd with perfect composure and diplomacy, practice your speech in front of your mirror as if you’re already in the committee. Practice until you feel confident enough in your tone, posture, eye-contact, and overall public speaking style. It is also helpful to record yourself and watch yourself giving the speech, and take note of what you should keep and what to change; you can read more tips on keeping your MUN skills sharp here!
It’s very important to always focus on what your fellow delegates and chairs are saying during committee sessions. Whenever you find a good point or one you’d be able to discuss, write it down. The more material you have prepared , the easier it is to speak more clearly and diplomatically. Write down points you can debate against/with when other delegates are speaking.
MUN is a life changing experience, don’t let the anxiety of being a first timer overpower the enjoyment that comes with going to your first conference. When you join MUN, you never stop learning and seeking knowledge through different outlets. At the end of the day, every MUN–er can tell you that it was never just an after-school activity, but a pathway that taught us awareness, diplomacy, and confidence.