Speaking

All else is useless if you can’t convince people to support your resolution


General Speaking Tips

When speaking, confidence is key. In order to persuade others that your resolution or proposition is the best one, you need to believe what you are saying and clearly transmit that to the committee. The public speaking skills developed in MUN are some of the activity’s most important skills, as they transcend MUN and are applicable to any field and any age.

If you are shy about public speaking, begin by taking baby steps. First, practice in the mirror so you can see yourself speak while you’re delivering your speech. After getting comfortable with what you have to say, try recording a video of you delivering your speech, then go do something else to get your mind off the speech and, after a while, watch the video. Consider your eyes; are you looking at the camera or do you keep looking away? What are your hands doing? Are they awkwardly still, flailing about, or do they serve to emphasize key points in your speech? Take note of about two or three aspects you can improve in your body language and diction, then record yourself again. Repeat this process until you are confident with delivering a speech to your parents or friends. Practice with them, then try giving a few speeches at your school’s local MUN club during mock debates. Practice will eventually give you the confidence you need to persuade delegates in any conference you attend.  It is important to note that every speaker, regardless of how many speeches they have delivered, will always be able to improve and refine their oratory skills, so try these tips even if you are a public speaking veteran.

Knowledge and confidence will go hand in hand. If you are very knowledgeable about the issue at hand, you will be able to speak about it with more certainty. Be sure to highlight important facts, figures, and points in your speeches by pausing and changing your tone of voice. Monotonous speeches bore quickly and are soon forgotten. Try to find your ideal tone – some speakers employ a lot of passion and others are more reasoned. Whatever your tone, develop it. Do not be afraid to experiment with different intonations, but be careful not to overdo it, as forced tones are easily detectable.

With knowledge and confidence, you will be able to select the precise diction – the vocabulary – that conveys your key points. Choosing the right words ensures you express your thoughts with precision. Do not try to use a sophisticated or “fancy” word just because it is rare or difficult, especially if you’re not sure you’re using it correctly. Oftentimes, simple but precise vocabulary can convey ideas more elegantly and clearly than intricate grammar structures or wording.


Preparing Your Opening Speech

Opening speeches are normally the committee’s first impression of you and your position. They usually last between 30 seconds and one minute and are therefore packed with information. If allowed by the conference you are attending, write your opening speech in advance and practice it with the steps described above, timing yourself to ensure that you are able to comfortably deliver the speech in the allotted interval. Do not rush through the speech, as that will make it harder for the dais and other committee members to digest and consider your points. If you talk too quickly, others will lose interest in what you have to say. Finding a balance between content volume and speed is imperative.

When writing the speech, consider each of the topics the committee was tasked with addressing. If the committee needs to select a single topic from a list of possibilities, briefly mention each topic, elaborating on why it is relevant to your country and the committee. Focus, however, on why the topic you want to see debated is the most pressing of them all. Create a sense of urgency – why does the committee have to sacrifice its time to discuss that topic in lieu of all others? How do inaction or delays by the committee affect your country and the world as a whole?

Begin by stating the delegation you are representing, since most people best remember the beginning and end of a speech. You want other delegates to associate your delegation with your face quickly, so be sure to mention who you are representing at the outset. After that, briefly mention each topic and which you would like to see debated first, as described above.  When ending the speech, use some form of call-to-action. Encourage other nations who share similar views to get in touch with your delegation, propose some sort of solution (such as adopting the topic for which you advocated in favor) so that delegates can clearly remember your position. End by thanking the committee and dias and yield your time back to the chairs.

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