How to write a speech
What types of speeches may I have to prepare?
- An opening speech
- A policy statement
- A speech for/against a resolution/amendment
- Any other speech presenting your views and proposed solutions: e.g. during a moderated caucus or an emergency
Open every speech by addressing the Secretariat and other delegations, for example:
Honourable Chair and Distinguished Delegates
After your speech you may or may not open yourself to points of information (questions). Every speech should be made in formal language and in the third person.
An opening speech is the first speech of each delegation and is said during the Opening Ceremony. It is said by the leader of each delegation and should last no more than three minutes. While you are allowed to structure your speech however you like, there are certain things which you might wish to include. Think about how you want other countries to perceive you and who you want to build an alliance with. Who are your major political allies or trading partners? Why would they want to be your allies? In your opening speech you may wish to convince them to turn to you as a political partner. You might choose to mention, for example:
- Some relevant details about your country (History? Position? Neighbours? Army size? Economy?), for example:
Having been inhabited for over 12 thousand years, Egypt is the largest Arab country in the world.
- The views of your country on the issues in each council (What concerns you the most? Any similar problems in your country? Would you suggest a radical solution?), for example:
The Arab Republic of Egypt recognises the serious problem that human trafficking is and has approved legislation criminalising all forms of human trafficking.
- A greeting or encouragement for debate:
We look forward to taking part in fruitful debates during this conference
If you opt for the council-by-council version, keep each of the issues discussed brief.
Like most introductions, the opening speech is best when written last, after the leader has had a chance to consider the overall strategy of the delegation.
Overall, your opening speech should set the tone of your delegation as a whole. You are encouraged to have fun with it and be brave about expressing your country’s stance.
A policy statement is said in your council/committee and normally lasts about three minutes, although you may motion to make it longer or shorter, or your chair may decide to change the time allowed. It should present your country’s views on the issues discussed in your committees and, ideally, include some solutions which later to put in a resolution or expand in another speech. It should be preceded by some sound research on the topic. Writing your speech, think about how other countries will perceive you and who you might want to ally with. What you may want to include:
- An outline of a similar problem in your country, or related issues with which your state has dealt with in the past (What was it? How was it tackled? Can the current issue be resolved similarly? How did it influence your country’s view?)
In France, the use of renewable energy has long been concentrated on the production of electricity through a growing number of wind engines and solar panels.
The government has raised the public sector minimum wage and pensions, and the central bank has lowered its key interest rates by a full percentage point to encourage growth.
- Recommended solutions to the problems, usually based on past experiences of your country (How can a similar policy be implemented? How can your country help the region affected? What should other countries do?)
Small hydropower development should be encouraged and fossil fuel imports should be reduced by 50%.
Most importantly, think of what your country has already done or what its representatives have said – governmental programmes, international projects, etc. Strengthen your speech by statistics or quotes from politicians or businessmen.
From an African perspective French-African relations under Nicolas Sarkozy were extremely disorganized, says Abdou Diouf, former Senegalese president, and current Secretary-General of the OIF.
Nuclear power still represents 78% of the electricity mix, wind power stands at 2% and solar power less than 0.5%.
DON’T describe the issue as a whole: it is the chair’s responsibility to explain anything that might be unclear.
A speech for/against a resolution/amendment is much more spontaneous than a policy statement. Do not let this discourage you from making one – put down some main points on paper. After the submission of a resolution and then amendments to this resolution you will have the opportunity to speak for or against one of them. As for the structure:
- State your view early on and reinforce it throughout.
- Be clear about why you support the resolution/amendment or what it is about the resolution/amendment that you disagree with. The general idea? Specific clauses?
- Do not be afraid to state your judgement confidently – convince your fellow delegates to vote according to your liking.
Other speeches that may be required of you, e.g. during General Speakers List or an emergency scenario, are similar to your policy statement, although you will usually need a greater sense of purpose and a deeper focus on particular solutions rather than your country’s stance.
Each speech you make is an opportunity to gather allies!
In case of doubt or queries e-mail or message any member of the Secretariat.