How to Make an Opening Statements
So you’ve made it, you’ve done your research and you’re now ready to make a statement on behalf of you represented country. Here are a few tips on how to write a good opening statement:
WRITE IT DOWN
You might have all the information in your head and you know just what you want to say, but not writing it down usually means you’ll waste precious seconds saying “um” and “er” as you try to remember what to say next.
USE AN HIGHLIGHT SOUNDBITES
A soundbite is a concise statement that sums up a point you want to get through. Think of it as a really short summary of what you want to say. It needs to be memorable, and to make it clear to everybody what it is you want. The average soundbite is only 7 seconds long, but with practice, that can be more than you’ll ever need. You can start your statement with a soundbite (“Ladies and gentlemen, if we don’t do something about this now, the world economy will crumble”), stick it in the middle (“The crimes listed here should be enough for you to make a decision, but unfortunately there will be more to come if we won’t stop this”), or end with it (“This is why we must band together and make a brave statement against child abuse”). Make sure to highlight them on your statement so you’ll know when to give them emphasis.
EXPLAIN YOUR POINT
Don’t just say what you think, explain why this is your position, and why other countries should share your views.
If you can back up what you’re saying with examples or statistics, it can give a lot of power to your arguments. Back up you sayings with facts. Be sure not to overdo it though, too many examples and your opening statement starts to sound like a history lesson.
CONCLUDE YOUR STATEMENT
Most Model UNs will have a time limit for opening statements, but even if you’ve only been talking for one minute, it pays to have a conclusion saying exactly what’s your stance, and what you think needs to be done (“In conclusion, Nicaragua cannot allow this situation to continue, and call for immediate military action).
Once the research is done, and the opening statement is written and ready, all that’s left is to say it in front of a crowd. Here are some points that can help you do better at public speaking and make sure your hard work doesn’t go to waste. They are: Confidence, Appearance, Eyes, Sound, Activity, and Rhetoric or CEASAR for short:
Confidence – Saying things in a confident manner not only makes you sound more convincing, but also makes it easier for people to listen to you. Talk as if you truly care about the topic, and if you don’t feel too confident on the inside, simply fake it till you make it: acting confident will do just fine, and will eventually lead to you being confident.
Appearance – people tend to listen better to someone that looks their best. This can sometimes mean dressing up to look as good as possible, but you should also consider body language: don’t slouch, keep your head high, and smile. You won’t believe how much difference that can make. Of course, your special expression should fit the tone of the statement. Smiling while talking about extreme poverty would probably not work in your favor.
Eyes – Eyes can form a connection between you and the crowd. Make sure not to focus on one spot when talking, but let your eyes wander and form as much eye-contact with the people listening to you as possible. If you’re reading from a sheet of paper, make sure to raise your look every now and then and look other people in the eye.
Sound – Talking in monotone will make people lose their interest. Talking too fast can make you hard to follow. Try and find the sweet spot where you can get to your point fast but also be clear. Use emphasis on points that are important and try and embrace a sort of melody to you speech.
Activity – Movement can help you maintain the attention of the audience. If you can, walk around a bit. If not, use your hands to make gestures and draw eyes to you. Do not put your hands in your pockets or your arms across your chest.
Rhetoric – the words you use are also part of your arsenal when speaking to an audience. Try not to use complicated words people might not understand, or words that will be hard for you to pronounce. Read your statement out loud and watch out for tongue-twisters (“the Sub-Saharan states are suffering from serious sewage sabotage”). You should also make sure to phrase the information you’ve got in the most compelling way (for example, saying “525600 children die each year of hunger” isn’t as compelling as “every minute, a child dies of hunger”).