How to Prepare
Before traveling to a MUN conference, it is essential to research and get organized before committee sessions. One useful way to pull all of your resources together and look professional is to create a binder to bring with you to committee sessions and review beforehand. Here is a list of a few key things to have in the binder as a good starting point:
Background Guide: The main topics of debate for the committee will be outlined in this guide, along with the Chair’s preferences for rules of procedure and other specific committee details. In addition, they generally contain important information about the characters or countries in the committee. Chairs upload these to the conference websites a few weeks or months before the conference.
News Articles: You will want to know that latest news about your committee topics. A few days before the conference, or even while at the conference, it is helpful to have printed some articles. Simply use sites like Google News, or depending on the committee you can branch out to use new sources like BBC or AlJazeera if these relate more to your character or committee.
CIA Factbook/Wikipedia: A good go-to source for essential information on specific countries, government figures, and other useful facts. Not knowing this basic information, or at least having it on hand in a binder, can be embarrassing if anyone brings these facts up. Wikipedia pages generally also have info on recent controversies and events.
Notes: As discussed in the previous section, notes are critical to communicate with other delegates or use for directives. Generally a few hundred notes should be sufficient for a conference, which should be kept in the binder during the conference.
Loose-leaf paper: Always good to have in case you need to write a longer directive or resolution in the committee. Or if you want to plan out a large idea before sharing with the group, scratch paper is a good idea.
Tips and Strategy
Timing: Timing when you speak is a great way to stand out in committee. At the first committee session, many delegates will still be too shy or have nothing to say, so standing out and being a leader early on gets you noticed. If you early on establish yourself as a high talker, then if you take a break to write resolutions, action orders, etc, then when you come back you will be more likely to get called on and attention while speaking. Breaks can be strategically used. But make sure not to ramble and fill time with sub-par speeches!
Passing Notes to Crisis: Some of the best delegates, who end up winning the most awards, talk less and spend much more time writing notes and planning strategy. Good delegates can take any character and use their own power to impact the committee. For example, in an Iran committee last year, one delegate was the government’s Environmental adviser. Some brushed this off as one of the weakest positions in the room. However, due to asking questions of the Crisis staff and contacting terrorist cells through private notes, he was eventually able to assassinate President Ahmadinejad and become the new Ayatollah. He won an award.
Thus, it is important to use any powers or actions your character may have. Creativity almost always pays off. If you are uncertain, send a note to Crisis asking what you can do. Maybe you can secretly monitor other delegate’s notes, or stage a kidnapping of a delegate.
Tone & Speed: Sometimes one of the most effective things to do is change your tone and speed you are speaking depending on what you are discussing. For example, if a dramatic crisis causes everyone in the room to get loud and panic, you could: Stand up and pause for a moment, waiting for the room to quiet and look to you. Then speak in a calm and slow voice, pulling the room back together and switching up the pace of the committee. Often times delegates feel the need to speak as fast as possible to get the most of their time, but it looks more professional and organized if you speak slowly but with good content.