How to speak MUN

Is MUN its own language?

Joining an MUN conference for the first time can at first be quite confusing, if not intimidating. This is because it takes some time before you get used to the way you communicate and express yourself during debate. Since MUN simulates United Nations procedure, this includes using formal (perhaps unnatural) jargon and phrases. Whatever you do don't panic because, in all likelihood, you will adjust naturally as the day proceeds. 

Here are some of the grammar-rules to succeeding in learning how to address the committee:

  • Always speak in Third Person - This means never using personal pronouns (such as you, me, she, he or I). It may at first seem strange saying, as representative the United Kingdom, 'The United Kingdom would rather not vote for this resolution since...' but in time you will learn to adapt.
  • Most speeches begin with 'honourable chair, fellow/distinguished delegates'
  • Most speeches end with 'the Delegate of (assigned nation) would like to yield the floor back to the chair'. Afterwards the chair would ask you if you are open to any questions, to which you can reply to 'Yes (and the stated amount)' 'No' or 'Any and All'
  • However, you may yield the floor to other delegates (though it is recommended to have informed the delegate beforehand in noteform) or to questions. Yielding the floor to questions means that the remaining amount of time left of your speech will be used to answer any questions of other delegates in the house.

When asking questions to the chair there are 3 types of 'Points' you can make by raising your placard and saying either:

  • Point of Personal Privilege (i.e. Can the AC be turned up because it's too cold. Note that if you need to use the bathroom just quietly exit the room)
  • Point of Inquiry (Another way of expressing a question about a speech)
  • Point of Order/Parliamentary Procedure (Which is rarely used when you believe there has been a mistake regarding the rules of procedure)

Then there is the term 'Decorum' which is used by the chair when the committee is either behaving inappropriately or whether debate is getting too intense

When you want to direct the committee to a new or different area of focus (that still relates to the topic) you would set a 'Motion'. When you want to set a motion you need to raise your placard and state the area of focus of your motion, what type of caucus it is is (unmoderated or moderated), how long it will be and the speaking time.

I.e. 'The Delegate of Indonesia would like to motion for a (15-minute) (moderated caucus) with a (1 minute speaking time) to discuss (possible solutions).

You can raise a motion when the Chair asks the committee whether there are any 'Motions in the house'. Multiple delegates may propose motions and after all the motions have been proposed the committee will vote upon which motion to debate upon next.

There are two types of Caucus (which is another term for debate):

  • Unmoderated Caucus (more informal and allows delegates to socialise and communicate with other delegates directly without the moderation of the chair. Often delegates use this time to form 'blocs' (groups) and to write, edit and perhaps even merge resolutions)
  • Moderated Caucus (more formal and most of debate is in this form. Here you will need to use your MUN language to communicate to the committee)

In terms of resolutions you will need to either vote for it, against it or abstain from it. Signatories by nature have 2 options: either to vote for or abstain. A resolution is passed when there is Simple Majority (meaning 50% or more of the committee is in favour of the resolution).

In order to make the resolution more unanimously favourable you as a delegate can submit Amendments to the chair in note form. There are two types of amendments, namely 'Unfriendly' and 'Friendly' amendments. Friendly amendments are automatically made since they are approved by all signatories. Unfriendly amendments need to be voted upon since they are not approved by all signatories.

Resolution Guide + Sample

The calls to action during committee are outlined in what is called a 'resolution'. Resolutions are non-binding suggestions of what Member States are expected to follow in order to resolve an issue, in other words how the topic will be tackled. 

For this conference you are expected to prepare 2 operative clauses before the conference to express your country's view and ideas on how to combat your assigned issue. These operative clauses will help guide your standpoint in committee. Moreover, you will use these clauses when collaborating and lobbying with other delegates (possibly with similar perspectives) to form a bloc and a final resolution.

A resolution consists of pre-ambulatory clauses (which introduce the issue/topic) and, more importantly, operative clauses (which call to action). For this conference it is advisable to form a draft hand-written resolution which can be typed up later by the Advisor's Panel. The minimum amount of A4 pages for a final resolution is 2 pages and the maximum is 4 pages. A (M)UN resolution has a standard structure which you must follow so it is advisable to study and familiarise yourself with the sample resolution below:

Preparing an opening speech

As a delegate you will need to deliver a one-minute speech on the first day of the conference to express your country's policies and perspectives on the issue at hand. Think of this as your first impression to other delegates so it is crucial that you keep it short, to-the-point and impactful. It is useful to state your three main points that you want your committee to remember about you and your stance. This could be about how the issue affects your country or briefly proposing some solutions. 

Just note that most speeches begin with 'honourable chair, fellow delegates' and end with 'the (Assigned Country) would like to yield the floor back to the chair'. 

Sending Notes during Committee

Note passing is an important strategy in which you as a delegate can reach out and communicate with other delegates during committee. Nonetheless, ensure that all notes are respectful and relate to your assigned topic. In addition they must be legible (neatly hand written in English). Be aware that Paiges will read and verify all notes before delivering them to the chair. 

Dress Code

Since this is a simulation of the United Nations you are expected to show off your most diplomatic attire. If you have any clothes which are (appropriately) representative of your given nation it would give the conference more colour if you chose to wear it.

For the Ladies

Recommended Attire:

  • Blazer/Jacket
  • White Shirt
  • Skirt (make sure it's knee length or longer)
  • Black formal pants
  • Formal Dress
  • Flats or Heels which do not exceed 5cm

For the Men

Recommended Attire:

  • Suit & Tie
  • Formal Shoes