Tips on Lobbying

IMG_4828On the second day of the 2013 Qatar Leadership Conference, three seniors from Qatar Academy took it to the stage to give tips to both new and seasoned MUNers on how to write a good resolution, be good at lobbying and potentially be a main submitter. Shakeer Ahmad, Numair Mujeeb and Nasser Atiyah also managed to hold a mini MUN conference at the end of the workshop, to practice what they have been learning during the session.

The session began with Mujeeb reading out scenarios that could arise inside a committee during a conference and what delegates must do about it. Both Ahmad and Atiyah passionately gave advice, tips and tricks to be used for advantage to the thirty-or-so avid audience.

The first of one of these scenarios states:

“You’ve written the most clauses; yet someone else wants to be main submitter for the resolution, what should you do?”

Having thick skin is really what you should do. If you want to be main submitter, you have to try hard and do whatever it takes. “Try (to) be active with your clauses, make sure you raise your voice and make your voice heard,” claimed Atiyah. Ahmad further explains that if other people disagree with your clauses, you can easily remove your clauses from the resolution and form with another group.

However, a question arises in the room asking, “Should the main submitter be the most powerful country with the most allies?” Atiyah answered this with a simple no. He further elaborates on a situation that may arise where the biggest country with the most allies may not be the most excellent speaker but still want to be a main submitter. The most important thing to Atiyah is not what country you’re representing, but having the attributes it takes to be a main submitter.

What are those attributes?

Well, Ahmad explains that the most important thing is to be a good orator, friendly and amicable towards your colleagues. Why? Because being friendly will enable you to get all the support and signatories you need to get your resolution passed.

Moreover, Ahmad stressed how crucial it is to not be authoritative when it comes to lobbying. He advised:

“Do not say you want to be main submitter from the beginning, it will put people off, and might incite an argument”

Ahmad compared preparing for lobbying to “like studying for an exam. You can’t study the night before, you have to study in advance”. In other words, if you want to be main submitter, you should do your research on the topic; note down the important countries involved; befriend those countries in the conference and persuade them on how your resolution will be beneficial for them.

“Is it morally acceptable to change our personalities just to be main submitter?” questioned one of the audience.

The room fell into silence. Nonetheless, Ahmad managed to convince that we are changing our personality temporarily for the better of everyone in the committee room.

To conclude, here are some useful advice from Mujeeb, Ahmad and Atiyah, you might consider when lobbying:

  • Do your research, write a good resolution
  • Come to the conference with enough copies of your resolutions to be distributed to other delegates
  • Speak up – don’t look lost and vulnerable
  • Congregate with countries with similar interest as yours
  • Get to know the people in your committee – be funny
  • Don’t be bossy, authoritative or arrogant – your peers will feel alienated and will refuse to work with you
  • Bring your laptop – therefore you can facilitate the lobbying and merging of resolutions – you have control
  • Don’t be so caught up with the idea of being main submitter. However, if you feel you are the best speaker in the group with the strongest resolution and have the most drive, then go for it!
  • Communicate with your peers to avoid arguments
  • Try to compromise if a problem arises, try to find common ground and similar interests – you don’t want to divide the group for too long!
  • Think of what other people in your group want as well, not just what you want
  • Remind the group to work together for the better of everyone
  • Once you have all the require signatories, quickly submit your resolution to the approval panel
  • As soon as you get your peers to say ‘Yes’ to your resolution, get their signatures! You have no idea how many people change their minds after a few second

And last but not least:

  • It doesn’t matter if you’re a small country, as long as you have the confidence and drive – that’s all you need.

 

By : Afif Haitsam