MUNPlanet community started to bloom somewhat before official spring which is a good signal for all UN rganizers and delegates who will use the spring energy at their conferences.
One of the best ways to prepare for the conference is to craft adequately your opening speech. When you research and prepare your opening speech you should take into consideration how it will benefit your committee, apart from being useful to yourself. Your opening speech will invigorate the discussion; it will establish new partnerships; it will give you an edge in the eyes of countries which carefully follow everyone else’s move, before making their own.
Therefore, here is the framework for a stellar opening speech, provided by myself, a UNESCO Committee Alumna (both participant and organiser):
1) Preparation starts early enough by deciding to commit yourself in a really focused manner.
Certainly, you want to make a memorable impression as a participant. Then, your next step is to work, work, work until the conference opening and to work, work, work, work at the actual sessions.
2) Some of the questions to get you going during the initial preparation:
-What documents shall I read?
Your primary literature for preparing your opening speech is probably suggested in the packages that the organisers sent to you. Apart from looking this A to Z, you are well advised to research what the official UN agency/entity states, such as UNESCO, General Assembly, Security Council, etc. Then, your next step will be to research the official opinion of your country on the following topic. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Ministry of Culture or other institutions which crafted meaningful documents can be a valid source of reliable, powerful information. After this initial wave of research, the numerous new windows, links and reports will pop out, which will help you to choose your speech in one particular direction.
-How many experts should I contact?
It would be very beneficial that you establish some contacts with people who know the topic of your committee inside out. They might be part of the UN country team in your capital city; they might be MUN alumni (organisers or participants) that you met through social media or this platform. Contacting experts would be an extra step that many people will not take once they finished researching their country’s policy. However, you do not want to be like the majority of folks, right? And you want to stand out with the insider information which cannot be found on the internet?
-Shall I watch some YouTube videos of great speakers?
Apart from preparing the content of your speech, you should be preparing the speech delivery, as well. YouTube, rather than Vimeo can be the practical resources with million examples of motivational speakers and balanced orators in the arena of international relations.
-What else can I do?
You have to ensure that you will refrain from compulsive collection of links and information. In the end, opening speech lasts for several minutes and it should be succinct and without loose ends. This brings us to the next plateau:
3) How do I move from the draft version to finishing and delivering the speech?
Probably the best answer to you, the aspiring MUNer concerning the question ‘‘when do you stop redrafting, rethinking and doubting their speech’’ is to decide about the adequate amount of the documents you quoted, as well as about your personal touch. Your speech should sound naturally when it is performed aloud and it should bring new insights to the audience in the room.
With this goal in mind, the exercise becomes extremely valuable.
According to dr Albert Mehrabian, what you will show in your speech will consist of :
- 7% verbal content i.e. what is written
- 38% vocal impact: your tonality, volume, rhythm, intonation
-55% visual impact: posture, body language, facial expression.
For final touches, the following rhetoric books can help you revise what you exercised: How to Win Friends and Influence People? ; Thank You for Arguing. What Aristotle, Lincoln and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion?; Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion