As Model UN delegates, we are taught that the pathway to Model UN success is engraved with heavy binders overflowing with research and incredibly in depth solutions that tackle every single aspect of the topic. The truth of the matter is, all of those impromptu speeches and lengthy resolution papers mean little without the confidence necessary to properly deliver those skills. Having attended multiple Model UN conferences, I’ve witnessed my fair share of delegates take home gavels who were severely lacking in substantive research, but exuded a degree of conference that guaranteed them leadership positions in their blocs.
Clearly, confidence and preparation are not mutually exclusive, and the most advanced delegates are strong in both skill sets (at high level conferences, chairs can usually see right through delegates who are clearly underprepared and take advantage of those who are properly researched, regardless of their confidence); however, I’ve learned that confidence and preparation are not equally important when it comes to consideration in awards.
Here are a few reasons why I believe confidence is the single most important skill you need to take your Model UN performance to the next level:
Confidence Obliges Other Delegates To Listen
We’ve all had those committee sessions where it seems as if every delegate is making the same monotone speech, calling for “comprehensive” and “multi-faceted” resolutions. Breaking that seemingly never-ending cycle requires a certain level of confidence in your ability to bring something new to the table. Start off with an interesting quote or anecdote. Mention a subtopic that no one else in committee has ever thought of. Maybe even boldly criticize the lack of action taken by certain countries in the committee room. Walking up to the podium with the intention to stir up the committee is one of the most pivotal skills in getting a gavel; you have to be able to steer the committee room towards engaging debate and ensure that your voice is heard.
Confidence Allows You To Be A Leader
Within unmoderated caucuses, emerging as the sole leader of your bloc can be extremely difficult: especially if you’re in a General Assembly committee of over 200 delegates. Being confident in your ideas, solutions and skill level will be able to provide a sense of security, allowing you to engage in healthy debate. Understanding the importance of your solutions will ensure that you are able to lead fellow delegates towards a paper that combines the ideas of the entire bloc, yet allows your solution to shine through.
Confidence Allows You To Be A Teacher
For most Model UN committees, chairs prefer to see that their “best delegate” is diplomatic and friendly. Often times, this includes helping out novice delegates when it is their first conference, whether it’s helping them in operative clause or teaching them parliamentary procedure. Within your committee, novice delegates tend to gravitate towards stronger and confident delegates that are able to demonstrate that they have gone to multiple conferences and have a lot of experience under their belt. Chairs love to see that delegates are helping each other out in committee and it allows you to stand out.
All in all, in nearly every aspect of committee, confidence is the greatest skill you need to possess in order to gavel or generally be recognized as a leader by your fellow committee members. While having creative solutions and speeches is half the battle, having the confidence necessary to articulate your ideas is just as – if not more – important. Gaining that confidence will help you stand out in committee and strive for that gavel!