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Speaking and Debate at YMGE

Debate Style

Because of the intimate, fast-pace of YMGE, debate tends to lean towards a familiar, conversational tone. Don’t worry about being overly-formal during debate. Think about it. If you’re serving on a national cabinet, chances are that your “characters” have known each other for years. The tone of a national cabinet should not be bellicose and aggressive. Instead, it should sound like government ministers debating the right approach to an issue.

In larger committees, like the Specialized Committees, debate will be more formal, using Model UN procedure to structure debate.

Still, even the “larger” committees may not have more than 25 delegates in them. Therefore, you need to prepare to speak often on a range of topics. Rather than prepare pre-written speeches, which you should avoid anyway, practice impromptu speeches, particularly with short speaking times.

Fishbowl 30-second and 45-second Practice

Write down 30-40 specific sub-topics that you think may come up in debate. They can range from anything like “Shut down the borders of our country” to “increase the tariffs on Russian vodka imports.” Then on each write a ‘+’ sign to signify arguing the affirmative argument and a ‘-‘ sign to signify arguing against.

You can do this activity by yourself or with a partner. Practice timing yourself so that you use a majority of your time without going over your time limit. A 30-second speech should last between 25-29 seconds. A 45-second speech should last 40-44 seconds. Keep practicing until you meet these time goals.

Crisis Update Practice

Even though you don’t know what the crisis arc will be at YMGE, that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare for it. Analyze your background guide and think of 15-20 mock crisis updates that you may be presented with. Write them on pieces of paper and fold them in half.

Randomly select scenarios and give yourself 45 seconds to develop a response plan to each. This will train you to think of solutions quickly. After you finish writing solutions or mock directives, practice arguing for each of them for 30-seconds or 45-seconds.

Don’t Be Afraid to Practice

I know, it’s weird to stand in the middle of a room or look in the mirror so that you can practice delivering speeches, but it’s the best thing you can do! Look in the mirror or record yourself giving a speech. What do you notice about the tone of your voice? About your body language? Your facial expression? All of these things add and detract from your speech.

When you’re practicing speaking, try out different speeds, volumes, tones, hand gestures, and facial expressions. Try to vary these elements are you speak. You may only have 30 seconds to convince your committee to save thousands of lives, you better make it count!

Continue to Lesson 8: Research & Preparation