At the core of the Model UN teachable skill set is effective, confident public speaking. For experienced delegates, speech delivery becomes second nature and the nerves which once caused you to stumble over your words now seems futile and easily suppressible. What often comes with that comfort, though, is consistency of the same rhetorical strategies, the same cadence, the same tone, and all together, the same speech. Every delegate, regardless of the level of experience, should continue learning and improving throughout the entirety of their Model UN career. Thus, speaking style is something that should adapt and develop along with the delegate. Every delegate is unique, and as such, each speaking style is uniquely tailored to the strengths of the individual. This is all to say that speaking style should change. Here’s a few ways to make that happen:
1. Start Simple: Raise that Placard.
The first step towards reinventing your speech style is developing the confidence necessary to push yourself to try new things. Confidence when it comes to speaking is simply a matter of practice: so, the obvious answer here is to raise that placard and volunteer for speeches. Each speech provides you with an invaluable opportunity to experiment and practice trial and error for you to find your own personal style, no matter the time constraint. Once you’ve got enough practice under your belt, it will be easier to branch out and try some new things: experimentation is how you will end up with a newly revitalized speaking style.
2. Be a Little Selfish.
An easy way to spot a novice delegate attempting to embody a competitive strategy is by paying attention to those who consistently dedicate their speeches to bashing other delegates’ ideas rather than providing any of their own solutions. In addition to severely annoying you chair and subsequently losing potential awards, wasting all your speaking opportunities on attempting to take down other resolutions will inevitably limit your capacity to improve your own speaking style. So, sometimes it is good to be a little self-centered: spend more time being proactive and making substantive points that demonstrate your research and solution ideas.
Focusing on your own ideas means, by extension, that you will focus on the specific ways in which you present them.
3. Be Risky.
Being a competitive delegate intrinsically comes with the struggle of mediating your degree of obsession with awards. If awards take up too much space in your mind, then you may find yourself refraining from taking dramatic actions in committee out of fear of your chair’s potential disapproval. Logically, though, delegates who simply go along with the tide of debate even if it contradicts their country’s assigned position are not delegates who win top tier awards. Therefore, the best and final way to reinvigorate your speaking style is to let yourself relax just a bit when it comes to vying for awards.
Hyper-analyzing your every move in committee will result in performative stagnancy: so, take a risk. Do something edgy.
Take a dramatic stance. Deliver an emotional speech. Break up the redundancy of committee, and shake things up a bit. Not only will this strategy support the development of your own speaking capacity, but it will improve the quality of debate for the committee as a whole, and all delegates will benefit as a result.
The biggest enemy of every delegate is stagnancy: the notion that overtime, your Model UN skills will cease to improve, develop, or generally adapt to the constantly changing sphere of Model UN and geopolitics as a whole. A future of stagnancy may seem scary, but breaking it down is really only a matter of taking tangible preventative action. Engage in committee, deliver more speeches, try out a new rhetorical device, adapt a new speaking tone, and above all else: embrace change with open arms.
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