Speeches serve as the backbone for debate and take many forms that range from a formal speaker’s list or moderated caucus speech to a less formal comment on a previous delegates’ speech to a speech arguing against moving into voting bloc. Because of this, mastering the art of giving a speech, whether meticulously planned or given extemporaneously, will be key to your success in Model UN.
Public Speaking and Presentation
While MUN speeches may vary in length, type, and content, there is a general set of public speaking guidelines that delegates should follow to ensure their speeches are successful.
Daisies will prioritize speech content over the public speaking capabilities of a delegate, but delivering speeches well will capture other delegates' attention and make them more likely to work with you.
The first thing a committee will see when you go up to speak is your stance and posture. In general, keep your head high and feet shoulder width apart if you choose to stand still while speaking. Practice your stance at home while looking at an mirror–it will make you more mindful of the way you look while giving a speech. Spend time adjusting your speech posture and position and find what is most comfortable for you. Eye contact with your fellow delegates is essential as they are your audience, not your dais. You are not going to be working with your chairs on your resolutions! If you are more comfortable taking some steps during speeches, most chairs are generally amenable to it, but be aware that your movement should aid your content, not detract from it. The same goes for hand motions: they can be helpful, but a little goes a long way. If you are in a committee where you remain sitting while giving speeches, keep your back straight, head up and looking at fellow delegates, and your hands on the desk in front of you if possible. Showing your hands while sitting projects more confidence than hands hidden behind a desk.
From there, tone, volume, and speed will be integral to your speech's success. Humans naturally speak with tonal inflections; thus, your voice should follow suit when giving a speech. Emphasize more important phrases and vary the way each phrase is said; monotone speeches are not effective and are more difficult to listen to. Keeping an even and fairly loud volume is a given; consider the delegate furthest from you and keep your volume at a level where they can hear each word you are saying clearly.
All speeches at BMUN are timed, meaning that pacing in each of your speeches is vital to ensure that your points are expressed more effectively. A speech will normally range from 30 to 90 seconds. Audiobooks are usually recorded at a speaking speed of 150-165 words per minute, a rate that most people can comfortably listen to and process. Thus, this means that if you follow this pace, you will only be able to really say between 75 to 200 words in a speech. You will never be penalized for not using all of your time for a speech, but chairs do not look favorably upon delegates who use more time than the time given to them. It is advisable to stick to one main message for any moderated caucus speech with a short time limit to avoid bombarding fellow delegates with information or rushing your speech.
Use of notes
Many delegates, understandably, find giving memorized or extemporaneous speeches during conference to be nerve-wracking. If this sounds like you, know that you are permitted to use notes or paper to refer to during one of your speeches. If you choose to use written notes when giving a speech, use whichever note format is most helpful for you. Some delegates prefer writing a short outline of a speech or statistics with bullet notes, while others prefer to have a speech written out word for word. Be mindful, however, to follow the above presentation guidelines if you choose to use notes. There is nothing wrong with looking down at notes for a brief moment, but you should be able to make eye contact with other delegates and project your voice while you are speaking.
You should use or do whatever makes you comfortable to give your best speech, and practice is the best way to perfect your style and determine what makes you feel the most at ease.
In general, we look for speeches to move debate forward. Speeches should contribute something new, whether you are articulating a new subtopic to debate, proposing a solution to an issue, or respectfully disagreeing with a previous delegate. It can build off previous debate or offer a new perspective, information, or idea for the committee to pursue.
If you feel that committee seems to be going in circles, rest assured your dais does as well. In these cases, you want to be the delegate who breaks circuitous debate and brings it in a new direction, not the delegate who regurgitates the same speech four times. Chairs will always prefer quality over quantity.
Everyone has a different style of giving speeches, but in general due to time constraints it is best to limit your speeches to one main point. For example, one method for delivering a speaker's list speech is to open with a brief relevant anecdote or statistic that will lead into a one or two sentence summary of your country's policy and perspective on the topic and hand, then finally close with two or three potential solutions you would like to propose and express your excitement for working with your fellow delegates. A call to action for your fellow delegates will encourage them to reach out to work with you.
This formula can be modified however you wish, but in general you will want to have some sort of hook or unique detail or idea in your speeches to separate them from others'. As with your public speaking style, the organization of your speeches that works best for you will come with practice.
It is also recommended to have an opening speaker's list speech set to go for the beginning of committee. That way, you will have practiced your speech and can be confident that you will start committee off well. Some delegates choose to write out multiple speeches for several different subtopics; while this may be helpful for some delegates, others may prefer to develop ideas for speeches as committee proceeds. No speech preparation method will be the same for everyone, but finding when that works best for you will make a world of a difference for your Model UN success.
Just because you've given a speech doesn't mean your job is done! Once you've delivered an impressive speech, you should follow up by sending notes to people who you would like to work with or seemed impacted by your speech. Think about countries you typically align with or may have similar interests with; send those countries a note and encourage them to work with you in unmoderated caucuses. Making your speech is not merely a speech will ensure your success as a delegate in MUN.