Delegate Preparation Week 5

Public Speaking Structure and Committee Procedure

Photo from the Best Delegate Model United Nations Institute

Photo from the Best Delegate Model United Nations Institute

Hook Point and Action

Making speeches is a huge part of Model UN. Your speeches can help you find allies, win support for your resolution, or help reduce support for an opposing resolution. Throughout BDMUNC, you’ll make a series of speeches ranging from 30 seconds to 1 minute long. We want to make it easy for you to prepare for those speeches, so we have a simple 3-step process for what we call “Public Speaking Structure” to help you write your speeches at the conference. These three steps are the Hook, Point, and Call to Action.  


We recommend starting very speech with an attention-grabbing hook. The hook of your speech should draw the attention of the chair and committee alike with an engaging introduction.

We recommend one of four different kinds of hooks for your main speeches:

  • A compelling story

  • An intriguing question that you pose to the audience

  • An interesting statistic or fact about your topic

  • A relevant and recognizable quote about the topic

Later in debate, you may be able to use more informal hooks once you know your audience- for example, stating your disagreement with another delegate. The goal remains the same however; you need to start your speech by getting the attention of your audience.


This is where you backup your hook - you have the attention of the committee, now use it. Introduce your country's stance on the topics at hand and be prepared to defend them. Knowing what you believe is good, but knowing why is better. Always back up a point you introduce with logic or policy to ground your statements in reality.  

This is the point in a speech that tends to take too long, so focus on stating one point in its entirety with full support, instead of attempting to address multiple ideas. This can be very difficult especially if you've been defending an idea in committee, but it's always more important to get one idea across clearly then attempt to communicate three and fail at them all.

In a normal moderated caucus speech, you should have about ten seconds left after your hook and point - use that time for the “Action”.


The action section of your speeches is the conclusion. You've just spent some time grabbing the committee's attention and telling why they need to agree with you. Now it’s time to tell them what to do.

In an opening speech, tell the committee to vote for a specific topic that your country (or you) would prefer to debate first, or to work with you during negotiations. Later, try to call for others to support your resolution, vote against other resolutions, or call for some compromise. You can even ask delegates to send you notes to communicate further about your ideas.

The most important thing to remember is to have a strong and clear call to action. Use the ten seconds you have left after finishing your point to conclude, deliver a call to action and then close your speech.

Let’s practice: See if you can identify the Hook, Point, and Call to Action in the following speech!

Video from United Nations News

Lets Practice!

Now let’s practice using the H/P/A (hook, point, action) structure! Use the following game to set up debates between you and your teammates. Remember, every speech you give should follow the structure above!

I Could Not Disagree More:

This is a straightforward exercise where one person will make a statement, and immediately following that, someone will argue the exact opposite of that point. A couple of prompts for this game are:

  • Is the East Coast or the West Coast better?

  • Deep dish pizza or thin slice?

  • Winter or Summer?

Committee Rules of Procedure

Photo from the Best Delegate Model United Nations Institute

Photo from the Best Delegate Model United Nations Institute

Before you come to BDMUNC, you’ll need a working understanding of how your committee will be run procedurally. Below we’ve broken down the process of committee into two sections: Debate and Committee Procedure. Read over the following guide to make sure you know when to give your opening speech, how you can make motions, and how to navigate the rules of a committee.

Debate: Starting the Process

There are several ways in which you can start the debate, which needs to be formally “opened” before any debate can actually begin:

1.   Opening Debate: At the commencement of the conference, your chair will begin by asking if there are any points or motions. This is your chance to raise your placard, and if called upon, make a motion to open debate. Depending on the wishes of your chair, your committee may vote on this matter.

2. Speakers List: Once debate is open, the chair (the person facilitating the committee) will create a list of delegates who wish to give speeches. These speeches are typically about the topic, country policy, and possible solutions, and range from 1-2 minutes in length. The first time you speak on the speakers list is referred to as your opening speech. You should prepare this speech before the conference. After your first speech, you can send a note to the chair to request to be added to the speakers list again.

Debate: Making Speeches

Throughout the course of the weekend, you will have lots of opportunities to participate in the form of debate and negotiation. At BDMUNC, we want every delegate to speak as much as possible, so use the following list of speaking opportunities to increase your participation in committee!

There will be six different opportunities for debate and negotiation at BDMUNC:

1.   Speaking in Favor of a Topic: Prior to voting for the topic of your committee, you will have the chance to speak for which topic you think the committee should discuss first. This will happen in a “moderated caucus”, which we’ll discuss later. This will be your first chance to make a speech!

2.   Giving an Opening Speech/Speakers List: Opening speeches are given after a topic is chosen. This will be a chance to discuss your country’s foreign and domestic policies and specific goals and solutions for the chosen topic. To give an opening speech, you need to be added to the speakers’ list. To do so, raise your placard after your chair asks for delegates wishing to be added to the list. If you are not added in the initial round of selection, you can send a note up to your Chair asking to be added. The speakers list will remain open even after you make an opening speech, and adding your country to it continuously is a great way to increase your speaking opportunities!

3.   Moderated Caucus: After several delegates have had the opportunity to deliver their opening speeches, the Chair may ask if there are any motions that delegates which to make. At this point, you may introduce a moderated caucus. A moderated caucus is a separate style of debate in which you will be able to discuss more in-depth facets of your committee’s selected topic. During your speech, make sure to remain focused on the given topic, accurately represent your country, and remain diplomatic and respectful. Moderated caucuses are also excellent opportunities to announce your bloc’s resolution, or speak about specific clauses you may be working on.

4.   Unmoderated Caucus: Unmoderated caucuses are opportunities for delegates to negotiate without worrying about rules of procedure. While you won’t give traditional speeches, this is when you will negotiate with other delegates in smaller groups to build alliances and find common solutions. These are normally 5-20 minutes sessions in committee when all delegates are given the chance to freely move about in the room and openly discuss policy, strategy, and solutions with other delegates.

5.   Making a Motion: At any point in the conference, if the chair asks if there are any points or motions to be made, you may raise your placard. If selected, you can make a “motion” for a moderated or unmoderated caucus. If you wish to move for a moderated caucus, you must present a topic and time constraint (total length of the caucus as well as the individual speaking time). For an unmoderated caucus, you specify a total time constraint - no other details are necessary.

  • Mod Example: “Motion for a 10 minute moderated caucus, with 1 minute speaking time, on the topic of quality education for migrant children.”

  • Unmod Example: “Motion for a 10 minute unmoderated caucus.”

6.   Authors Panel/ Q&A: The Authors Panel is a chance for delegates to explain their resolutions and respond to questions presented by other delegates in committee.  In collaboration with the other sponsors on your paper, your bloc will collectively select up to five delegates who will address committee as members of the authors panel. Chosen delegates will have the opportunity to speak about their paper and answer questions. The Chair does not select which delegates go up for the Q&A; this is something that must be decided by the sponsors on each resolution.  

Photo from the Best Delegate Model United Nations Institute

Photo from the Best Delegate Model United Nations Institute

Committee Procedure: Overview

All Model United Nations conferences follow Rules of Procedure, or a set of rules, when conducting committee sessions. These rules will help establish a flow in committee and keep you from feeling lost or overwhelmed!

We’ve broken these procedural rules down into 6 areas:

  • Session Logistics

  • Debate

  • Speeches

  • Points

  • Resolutions

  • Voting

Now let's dive into each one!

Committee Procedure: Session Logistics

Roll Call: At the beginning of every session, the Chair will call on each delegate by country name for the purpose of roll call. When a country name is called, delegates are expected to answer with “present”. If a delegate is absent during roll call, they can send a note up to the Chair to show that they are present.

Majorities: Majorities are based on the numbers gathered in roll call and quorum. A simple majority occurs when there are more votes in favour than opposed, regardless of abstentions. If there is a tie, a motion will fail; to pass, any motion or resolution must have more votes in favor than opposed.

Procedural Voting: This is a vote on any procedural matter, meaning a vote on anything other than resolutions or amendments. All delegates are obligated to vote on these matters; you cannot “abstain” (decide not to vote in favor or opposed to the motion) on procedural votes.

Committee Procedure: Ending Debate

Closure of Debate: A motion to close debate will effectively stop debate on all substantive matters. If the Chair allows this motion to be voted upon, it requires a two-thirds majority to pass. The Chair may allow two speakers for and two speakers against this motion before voting. Following voting, if this motion is passed, all resolutions and amendments are immediately voted upon.

Recess: At the end of each committee session (excluding the final session), the chair will look allow delegates to make a motion for a break in session, called a “recess”. Delegates are permitted to move for a recess within the 15 minute time frame preceding the end of a committee session. The Chair can decide whether or not to accept this motion. This motion will pass based on simple majority.

Motion to Adjourn: Delegates are permitted to move for adjournment at the end of the last committee session of the conference. This motion will pass based on a simple majority.

Committee Procedure: Speeches

  1. Time Limit on Speeches: Each motion to speak will have a time limit. When making a motion for a moderated or unmoderated caucus, the delegate presenting the motion should specify a total time limit they wish to place on the caucus. For moderated caucuses, the standard speaking time for each delegate will be one minute, though it is subject to change if the delegate wishes to alter it in the proposed motion.

  2. Yields: At the end of a speech on the Speaker’s List, delegates are expected to “yield” if there is any speaking time remaining. There are four ways in which a delegate may yield their time:

  • Yield to the Chair: This is the most common yield. By yielding to the chair, the delegate forfeits the rest of the speaking time to the Chair, and as such the committee moves on to the next delegate or procedural matter.

  • Yield to a Delegate: The delegate presenting may yield the remaining time to another delegate, who will be able to speak for the remaining time.

  • Yield to Comments: If a yield to comments is made, the chair will select one or multiple delegates to make a comment regarding the speech.

  • Yield to Questions: In this case, the chair will select delegates to ask questions regarding the content of the previously made speech. The time it takes for the delegate to answer proposed questions will be subtracted from the overall speaking time.

3. Right of Reply: A right of reply is specific to comments made by one delegate with regards to another during a speech that is personally insulting. Insulted delegates may request a right of reply, and if approved, will be permitted one minute to reply to the aforementioned comment. Rights of reply must also be requested immediately after a comment is made and will be instantly ruled upon by the Chair.

Photo from the Best Delegate Model United Nations Institute

Photo from the Best Delegate Model United Nations Institute

Committee Procedure: Points

Point of Personal Privilege: If a delegate’s ability to comfortably participate in committee proceedings is hindered, the delegate may call for a point of personal privilege. This may include the temperature of the room or the volume of another delegate or the Chair. This may be called at any point during committee session, and the chair will attempt to fix the issue immediately.

Point of Order: Delegates can raise a Point of Order if they believe parliamentary procedure is being improperly conducted. The chair will rule on any Point of Order immediately.

Point of Parliamentary Inquiry: If a delegate has a question pertaining to the rules of procedure, the delegate may call for a point of inquiry. A point of inquiry may be called at any point and the Chair will answer immediately. Delegates are also permitted to send a note up to the Chair with any questions.

Committee Procedure: Resolutions

Resolutions: In our Week 4 Training Plan we explain how to write resolutions. Once a resolution in complete, it can be turned in to the Chair as long as it has enough sponsors and signatories. At this point, the Chair will allow the resolution to be formally introduced with an Authors’ Panel.

Amendments: These are changes made to draft resolutions following their introduction and presentation. Delegates are given the opportunity to write and support as many amendments as they would like, and can do so on any of the presented draft resolutions. There are three types of amendments that can be made:

  • Non-Substantive: This type of amendment is made to correct errors in spelling, grammar, or formatting. These changes will be inputted automatically if approved by the chair.

  • Friendly: An amendment that is approved by all sponsors of the given draft resolution is considered a friendly amendment. This type of amendment is immediately incorporated following the chair’s reading of it to the committee.

  • Unfriendly: An amendment that is substantive but lacks approval from all sponsors is considered an unfriendly amendment. In order to present this type of amendment to the Chair, authors must obtain signatures from one-fifth of the committee. All Chair-approved unfriendly amendments will be voted on separately following the closing of debate. Delegates may not amend unfriendly amendments.

*Amendments to pre-ambulatory clauses are not permitted.

Committee Procedure: Voting Procedure

Voting Procedure: Voting on resolutions will occur by a placard vote after debate has been closed. The Chair will indicate to the committee when to raise your placard if you are in favor, in opposition, or abstaining from voting on the resolution. Resolutions require simple majority to pass. Once the committee enters into voting procedure, the doors of the committee room will be secured and nobody other than staff may leave until voting has ended. Furthermore, note-passing and debate are strictly prohibited during voting procedure.

Voting on Amendments: Amendments are voted on in the order they were introduced. A simple majority is required to pass an unfriendly amendment. Directly after voting, all passed amendments will be implemented in the related resolution, which will then be voted on.

Making sure that you know and understand these rules will set you apart as a great delegate, so make sure to familiarize yourself with this guide before committee begins. Use this helpful chart to guide you while you’re in committee!

Want to see more of what the Rules of Procedure look like in practice? While BDMUNC may be slightly different, the video below will give you a great idea of what to expect in committee- special thanks to the MUN team at UCLA for putting this together!

What’s Next?

This is the final training guide before you come to BDMUNC, so it’s time to finalize your position paper and prepare your opening speech!

Use this rubric to make sure your position paper is the best it can be- it’s what your Chairs and Directors will use to score your position papers for the conference! Try trading papers with a teammate and using the rubric to give each other feedback on what you each have done well and what can be improved on. Make sure to stay positive and constructive!

Use this worksheet to write an opening speech for both of your committee topics. We will be discussing both topics over the course of the conference, so you should be ready for both! Remember - the goal of your opening speech is to share with other delegates your country’s policies and goals in relation to your committee topics. You’ll only have one minute for each speech, so keep them brief!

See you at BDMUNC 2019!