MUN 101: First Timers Guide in Surviving Their First Conference by Melisa Dertli
MUN 101: First Timers Guide in Surviving Their First Conference by Melisa Dertli. Hi everyone, it’s Melisa again. This month’s topic is regarding first-timers; their anxieties, how to survive, basic tips and tricks.
First of all, first timers, I congratulate you for being courageous enough to decide in attending a conference. It’s a huge step taken in the direction of improving yourself. Let’s go step by step and start with the research you need to do prior to the conference, participating during the debates, lobbying and having fun.
Whether being a part of your school MUN club or your own initiative, you are going to attend a conference. When you get your allocation, the first thing you should do must be intensive and elaborate research. This is highly important as your participation in committees will be based on this. If you don’t know the topic well enough, you can’t contribute very effectively.
Good research will help you come up with ideas because the more you read about the topic, the better you will understand the conditions lead to that problem, and therefore possible ways to eliminate it. Try to understand the basics, fundamentals of the issue. Find out the conditions lead to the problem, why did the issue occur, where did it originate, how is it affecting the world, society, environment, what will be the consequences if we don’t take action?
Then, go for the details, find out what is your country’s position on the topic, what are some actions taken by NGOs, IGOs, UN? Don’t just research the topic very broadly. If you want to step up in the committee, you need to know some relative details to the issue that not much people know. Also, if you are in a historical committee, my advice to you is that you don’t just research your own topic but also a little bit of the era in which the issue has taken place. So if you are going to attend a historical committee whose issue is the Yalta Conference, don’t just research the conference on its own. Research about the World War II era to understand why the conference was held, why it is important etc.
Participating in debates may be hard because of public speaking fears however that is what MUN is for, to help you get over it. Try to take part in debates as much as you can. This does not necessarily mean that you take the floor and talk, listening to the debate and writing amendments also mean that you pay attention and that is really important. I should say though, regardless of your fears or anxieties, you should encourage yourself to get out of your comfort zone and take the floor, or at least ask a point of information.
If you think you can’t speak very fluently without previously having written a speech, then write one, but don’t get up and read from that paper. Everyone knows you can read. Use that speech when you are stuck or lose track of what you wanted to say. With time you won’t need a written speech, just a few notes to help you remember what you wanted to say. Remember, the more you speak, the easier it will become for you to take the floor and deliver a speech.
Lobbying is simply networking, meeting new people and establishing friendships. The first day of the conference, go around and ask people about their committees, countries, schools. Try to get to know them. This is very important because you will feel more ease if you have at least one familiar face in your committee.
Most importantly, having fun. MUN is profoundly very serious and diplomatic but that does not mean you can’t have fun. Write gossips as much as possible. Go to social events, dance like crazy. MUN can be pretty overwhelming for you at points, with the unending workload but there will also be many opportunities for you to have the greatest moments of your life. It’s why we really love MUN. You will meet so many wonderful people and they will become a big part of your life. You will have inside jokes, memories, tears, laughter.
And lastly, please don’t get caught in the ambition of winning an award or being the main submitter. They are of course very important but they are not the only indication of your success. If you are not enjoying yourself there, then you are not doing it right.
The Writer of MUNTurkey.com