"Diplomacy is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they’ll look forward to the trip."
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?
The trick is as simple as it gets: Be charming!
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.
Seeing "power [as] the ability to affect others to get the outcomes you want” (Nye, "The powers to lead", 2008, p. xiii), Joseph Nye has promoted his concept of Smart Power, combining the inspirational force of Soft Power with the transactional force of Hard Power to create contextual intelligence.
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.
Of course, natural charm can and should not be taught, but for the purposes of our soft skill training we have composed a brief short cut approach of “7 Golden Steps to Being Charming” as a basis for your very own strategy of being convincing:
… and remember!
2. Be calm & confident
3. Use eye contact & body language
4. Give honest compliments
5. Lead charmingly.
6. Seduce your audience. Be ATTRACTIVE
A = Admirable
T = Team-leading
T = Trustworthy
R = Respectful
A = Appealing
C = Competent/ Confident
T = Tolerant
I = Interesting
V = Valuable
E = Engaging
7. Always be authentic.
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