What is Negotiation? Diplomacy & Negotiation in MUNs?
Negotiation is a dialogue between two or more people or parties with the intention of reaching an agreement and a beneficial outcome over one or more issues where a conflict exists with respect to at least one of these issues. We all negotiate in different aspects of our life. Negotiation goes on in the market, dialogue between siblings and parents etc. Therefore, this term is not a foreign word never heard of before. Negotiations happen at several instances in MUNs. This document will help you make the best out of it and be the winning negotiator because negotiation is key in being the absolute best MUNer.!
Negotiation in MUNs
Negotiations can come up anytime in MUNs. It can happen before committee sessions begin, during committee sessions (informal sessions)/ formal sessions (through the passing of notes); it can happen during the break time, in the accommodation provided by the conference etc. I am sure by now; you understand what I mean by ’Negotiation happens anytime’ for different reasons. To the mere observer, an MUN delegate who excels at public speaking can steal the show, but both chairs and delegates know that it is negotiations where MUN’s most significant challenges lie. Being a good speaker combined with being a great negotiator equals to Fame in MUNs. Fame is the beginning of your success story as a delegate in MUNs. So aim to be famous but for good things of course.
Negotiation is about making deals to persuade enough delegates to follow your position, such as; ensuring your preferred topic is selected and guaranteeing the passage of your resolution. You need to know what you want — what your team wants to gain and what it cannot give away- this is the key to being a great negotiator. You know how it feels when someone persuades you. You say “yes” or agree to something because you are comfortable with it. You genuinely like the idea and believe in it — or you decide to be persuaded simply because it is your friend or someone you like and trust. In Model UN, you will use a combination of substantive persuasion and personal persuasion in order to get delegates on your side — you will negotiate with them on both intellect and personality levels.
Negotiations in Commitee Sessions
Convincing other Delegates to Choose your Topic
Delegates have a preferred topic out of the topics that the committee is supposed to address. So usually it is the duty of the delegates to convince other delegates to select their own preferred topic and to do this, negotiating is going to be needed. Delegates will state all the pros involved in the selection of his preferred topic. Negotiation without a reasonable doubt is what the delegate has to do. But of course, negotiating has to be done in a sane, diplomatic manner, remembering that most delegates also have a preferred topic in mind to address. Now you trying to talk them into voting for your topic needs a lot of negotiating that might involve future promises, like; working together, giving them your lunch. Etc. An example of negotiating on topic selection;
Delegate from Belgium: Good-day, I’m Gabriel and I am representing Belgium, if you don’t mind, it will be nice to meet you.
Delegate from Ghana: Of course, it’s no problem, I’m Naira representing Ghana, it is nice to meet you.
Delegate from Belgium: same here. As regards the topics that the committee is supposed to address, which is your favourite and why is it your favourite.
Delegate from Ghana: I honestly don’t mind any of the topics the committee is addressing, because I believe they are of equal importance. But since we would be required to pick, I think I’d go with Topic 2, because Ghana has more information on it.
Delegate from Belgium: I totally agree with your idea of both topics being of equal importance, but I believe that topic 1 should be addressed since it involves more member states and since we are here for the betterment of the entire world, I would like to convince you to vote for topic one as the topic to be discussed, and if you do so, we will definitely work together and our bloc will be the highlight of the entire committee.
Delegate from Ghana: that’s a great idea. I would love to work with you as well, with that in mind, I will definitely vote on topic 1. Delegate from Belgium: Great. Let’s convince other people to vote for topic 1, as the more the merrier. The bolded part of the conversation is an example of negotiating and negotiating is a never-failing strategy to getting what you want, as long as you do it well.