Model UN is as much about being a charismatic leader and skillful negotiator as it is about impersonating UN diplomats and hence acting in a diplomatic manner. Throughout a MUN conference one does encounter a considerate level of competitiveness and is hereby facing the task of juggling a multitude of interests, opinions, backgrounds and heterogeneous situational awareness. But just as in our everyday lives and professional experience, in order to succeed, you do need people to cooperate with you, either by building strong alliances, connecting with some people or convincing others. In one of our previous tidbits on persuasion we’ve already tackled the principle of liking as core to persuasive power and key to cooperation.
But how does one generate liking?
This doesn’t mean that you can’t be straightforward, but sticking to your straightforward positions and leading a group in a both confident and charming manner, will make people more willing to listen to you and possibly even remember your points. Being charming is not only about making people like you, but rather making them wanting you to like them.
Be it shaped by nature or nurture, leadership is certainly based on charisma and hence leaders depend on the art of being persuasive and staying likeable at the same time. Knowledge is power and thus every leader has a valid need for a stable network of intelligence, to be created by establishing trust, respect and sustainable relationships. With new leadership being all about being the center of a circle rather than merely atop a hierarchy (watch out for a forthcoming tidbit), you need to create an atmosphere in which people are most willing and likely to negotiate with you as well as to increase the likelihood of people listening to your speeches or arguments.
Hard Power includes the traditional Machiavellian skills of being able to bully, buy and bargain, as well as organizational capacity and of maintaining efficient command and control structures. In contrast, Soft Power combines a high emotional IQ with the ability to manage relationships and charisma, emotional self-awareness and control with persuasive styles of communication and an attractive vision.
Being charming is thusly about using Smart Power in a strategic manner, creating transparency and credibility and interpreting evolving and dynamic environments flexibly and effectively.
… and remember!
- Ask questions, use details you hear to ask the right questions and make the right compliments, considering interests, positions and hidden agendas.
- Gather as much information as possible.
- Listen actively (nodding, eye contact, approving noises, etc.) and create a sense of partnership, to be perceived as charming and to increase your partner’s willingness to agree to your position (framing).
- Show no neediness. Make people feel comfortable around you.
- Use a subtle style of communication as a key to demonstrate your competence and interests in a modest and charming way.
- Stay mysterious and keep your poker face. Always appear to be having an ace up your sleeve.
- SMILE =) including your eyes!
- Use open and inviting gestures.
- Stand up straight but naturally and claim your space.
- Make eye contact with everybody you’re speaking to, and use your freedom to end eye contact just as consciously.
- Bonding and connecting requires a great deal of mutual understanding and respect. Amongst competing strangers this is naturally hard to accomplish. Hence you need a short-cut solution to winning their hearts.
- Human pride is a major source of conflict, therefore always consider hidden agendas, interests and pride.
- Make as honest and specific compliments as possible. Try to really give the other person some thought and figure out one thing you truly admire or appreciate, rather than just muttering the usual.
- Lead in a way that makes it easy to follow you. People do not particularly enjoy being run over, nor do the like being treated as if they were inferior.
- Give convincing and comprehensible arguments.
- Keep it simple. You need people to understand and back up your position as quickly as possible.
- Consider others’ interests and needs and implement these into your proposal to create common goals and interests.
A = Admirable
T = Team-leading
T = Trustworthy
R = Respectful
A = Appealing
C = Competent/ Confident
T = Tolerant
I = Interesting
V = Valuable
E = Engaging
- "Acting is not about being someone different. It's finding the similarity in what is apparently different, then finding myself in there." (Meryl Streep)
- Although "Fake it until you make it" is a popular strategy to success, the best act will fail if you don’t feel comfortable acting it out.
- Therefore, rather identify and embrace your personal charm or way of connecting to people and use the mentioned strategies to an extent that you feel fully self-confident with.
- "We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be." (May Sarton).