The art of argumentation is one of the most important skills involved in being a successful Model United Nations delegate. Just as in the real world, delegates not only need to be proficient and professional but also persuasive speakers to make positive change in these sessions. If you’re looking to strengthen your debate skills and produce a winning argument, here are some things to consider before your next model UN event.
Failure to Plan is a Plan for Failure
There is no way to win a debate of any kind if you do not first understand the issue at hand. Before your event, be sure to study the potential issues that might be raised for discussion, understand the stance you’ll take and consider how to defend it. Only by preparing for your Model UN event can you expect success. Don’t cram too much, though; your speech should sound natural and passionate, not stiff and rehearsed!
Maintain Your Composure
Flying off the handle at a competitor is never a good debate practice, and people will almost always react negatively to rudeness or unprofessional behavior during discussions. Keep your professionalism at the forefront of your mind and respect your opponent, no matter how much their manner turns you off or their view differs from your own.
Turn the Tables
Great arguers are also excellent listeners. This is no coincidence. Using the points your opponent raises as a platform for your own argument is a time-tested and effective strategy.
Agree with your opponent on points that you feel the audience will be most sympathetic to. If a nation needs assistance, agree that help is required, and consider complimenting your opponent on their zeal for helping others. Afterward, follow up with your argument for a different form of assistance, giving your audience more to consider and your competitor less to argue with.
While there is no need to be flowery or pretentious while arguing a point in front of an audience, there are many ways to remain entertaining and persuasive without sounding convoluted. Maintain eye contact, use reasonable body language and appeal to the emotions of listeners using your expressions. Be the kind of speaker you’d like to listen to, and capture the attention of your audience as well as your competitors!
Keeping these tips in mind will help you prepare properly for your next model UN event, as well as win future debates in other applications. Remember, above all: keep your words true and your attitude positive. People love the real deal!