If you’re reading this as a current Model UN club leader-Secretary general, director-general, head delegate, or whatever your title may be-congratulations! Of course, you’re already aware that being chosen for such a position is a great honor that comes with great responsibility. You’ve worked hard to get to where you are now, but remember that you too were once new to Model UN. If you are reading this not yet in a leadership position in Model UN, but hope to be in the future, you are likely very familiar with the feeling of your secretariat being distant, powerful Model UN experts, but rest assured, you are closer to that leadership position and have more in common with the delegates holding those positions than you think. Model UN is an activity where you are constantly learning and adapting no matter how experienced you are. Everyone is always looking to improve with every conference and every meeting. In order to build a strong team and see the most improvement possible, Model UN leaders must most efficiently help their novice delegates feel confident enough to participate actively in and perform the best they can at conferences. There are many ways in which Model UN leaders can mentor their novice delegates to achieve this.
Be a Mentor and A Friend
It’s important to gain respect as a Model UN leader so you can effectively run meetings smoothly and be taken seriously while preparing delegates for conferences. However, it’s also important to view these delegates as your peers and friends since you want them to feel comfortable going to you for advice and help with anything they might be struggling with, whether it’s specific skills or confidence in committee. You should always make yourself accessible by giving your social media, email, and/or phone number to your Model UN club members, specifically the novices who might not yet know you well. Along with making yourself accessible, you should also reach out to novice delegates. For example, starting conversations-Model UN related or not-before and after meetings and conferences with individual novice delegates can make them feel more comfortable with you and with being in Model UN in general. Valuable friendships are made in Model UN and as a leader, you should create an environment that facilitates that and set an example by caring for your delegates as a leader and a friend.
Balance Fun Activities and More Tedious Delegate Prep
There are many fun games and activities that focus on various Model UN skills such as speaking under time constraints, producing arguments on the spot, persuading others, and countering points with the opposite point of view. Some of these games include having a Shark Tank style meeting where delegates break up into teams and use persuasion skills to try to sell highly flawed products, having two delegates at a time come up and are assigned to speak either for or against a particular topic they get on the spot, and getting a topic to speak about for as long as possible, but with random words given to them by other delegates that they must somehow incorporate those words into their speeches before moving on. As fun and educational as such activities are, there are more tedious necessities when it comes to preparing delegates such as teaching lessons on parliamentary procedure and familiarizing delegates with the various components of the conference, including how to write vital documents such as resolutions, directives, and crisis notes. It is important to find a balance. Try alternating meeting agendas frequently between fun, small games and more in-depth training through lessons. This will keep novices interested and confident in their speaking abilities while still giving them the required knowledge for conferences.
Allow Novices To Learn By Teaching
Once you feel the novices have mastered the skills you’ve taught them, consider adding a new component to the learning experience of new delegates by allowing them to teach at meetings. Try to facilitate activities and mock conferences in which delegates compete in teams with a “coach.” The coaches can be delegates who have improved greatly, achieved their Model UN goals, and could benefit others through their advice and help. Although you are an official club leader, everyone in the club should be offering their respective talents and abilities to help everyone learn and succeed. Allowing delegates to peer teach each other will not only help those that are learning but also those teaching because it will cause them to really think about their strategies and skills as they explain them to others.
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