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My first MUN was Belgrade Model of the UN (BIMUN) in March 2011, where I had an opportunity to represent tiny archipelago of Maldives, for which I had to look for on the map so as to even find it. As you can imagine preparing for the conference was very chaotic even for the first timer since data on my country, Maldives were nowhere to be found. Anyways, I was confident as ever and decided to attend the conference no matter what whilst sticking with few lines on Maldives I picked up on my way to the conference venue. However, the task of representing Maldives turned out to be complete catastrophe, not only due to my poor preparation, but also due to the fact that I have reached the deadlock of public speaking. How that happened you may asked ? Well, first of all, I had to listen not only to the native speakers, but also to the much more experienced delegates whose knowledge of the English language was at the time impressive compared to mine. After listening to them, I was barely able to deliver an opening statement whilst my face turn red in embarrassment. However, I didn't let that opening statement mark my overall appearance, so I have decided to practice my speeches and pick up lines from other speakers. After first day, my speeches were less meaningless and much more clear. Furthermore, I even started using phrases that were unknown to me only until day before!
However, my ''success'' was only temporarily as in the meantime conference finished and I got back to speaking English only occasionally, which contributed to the continuous deadlock in the following MUN I attended later that year. However, this time I decided to pursue another tactic. Instead of just listening to others and picking up the lines whilst at the same time memorizing my own speech (which apparently was not successful anymore), I have decided to write my speeches. Of course, it took me a while to compose them whilst at the same time not being able to follow the flow of the debate, but still my speeches became even more clear and public speaking in English language became much more feasible.
After changing my initial tactics, I have continued writing my speeches in the next few occasions, which for a beginner proved to be a good solution. However, in the meantime, I became not only occasional debater, but active representative trying to take the floor whenever possible. I use to think that improvement of my writing English contributed to this, especially since I started composing sentences much faster than I did in the beginning. The aforementioned change of tactics prove to be successful since I have won my first best-delegate award in April of 2012 at the Mostar International Model of United Nations (MOSTIMUN) by applying it thought the whole conference.
The aforementioned award came in the right moment for my further MUN career, as right from that point I gained a huge boost of confidence and self-esteem needed to break down the deadlock almost permanently and advance my public speaking. Therefore, right after the MOSTIMUN I have started writing just bullet points instead of full statements. The bullet points proved to be useful as they gave me much more leeway to follow up the discussion and change my thoughts in just a few seconds before I take the floor. The new tactic worked as well and contributed to yet another best-delegate award in the summer of 2012 in Romania.
After success in Romania, my career as an MUN delegate was pretty much over (I have participated only once more as a delegate since then). After my tenure as a delegate was over, I have embarked yet on another perilous journey into the waters of chairperson, which proved to be even more challenging and far more demanding. Of course, as a chairperson there is no way you will be able to write your speeches and control the floor at the same time. That's why I had to impose a new tactic and ''improvise'' all the time. After first chairmanship, I was already experienced enough and there was no need for me to even think about writing what I was supposed to say. Of course, my written English was still way better than the oral one, but still I improve enough so as not to be in fear of yet another deadlock.
To put this short, personal story in a nutshell, fellow MUNers, I advise you to take the following steps:
1. Do not be shy! Even if your English is bad, speak it! There is no better way to learn a foreign language than to speak it whenever you have a chance.2. Pick up lines from other, experienced delegates. The language of the MUNs is quite specific, but is not that hard to catch once you get a clue what others are speaking about.3. Write whole speeches, if you are in a deadlock and think that you will not be able to compose a single sentence on your own.4. If you are confident enough and think that there is no need for you to write whole statements, write bullet points, which will give you much more leeway to interpret them once you start delivering your speeches.5. Work hard to improve your language skills, they are not going to be improve themselves ;)
Well, that's all from me for now, folks. I wish you a good luck with your future endeavors and do not forget to share/comment my first blog at the MUN Planet :)