The Challenges of Double Delegating
Double delegates can be very valuable if both of them understand how to work together and make the best use of their resources. When participating as a single delegate in a committee, that delegate has to accomplish every task on their own: speeches, working papers, draft resolutions, negotiating, etc. The same tasks are faced by double delegates. While it seems that double delegating is simply splitting the workload, it is far more complicated than that.
Double delegates face a wide variety of situations. They may be together in a large General Assembly committee or they may have to work together in a smaller setting such as a 30 person Security Council. Both will present different types of challenges for double delegates. It comes down to finding a balance between the strengths and weaknesses of both delegates so that they can complement each other as they move towards their goals.
If you are going to a conference, and will be working with another delegate in your committee, you need to read this article. The following guidelines and tips will help you and your partner find a better balance to be more effective and successful.
Basic Double Delegate Rules
Know one another
Before the conference even begins, both delegates in a partnership should have already worked together. You should have been doing research together and preparing position papers. If you are meeting right before the conference, it will be much harder to find an effective strategy.
If you can, practice
If you are part of a delegation, or Model United Nations club, see if you can have a long simulation where you get to double delegate with your partner. From speaking to passing notes this test run will have you become aware of things you do well and things that need work. While researching together is beneficial, nothing will make you aware of each other's natural tendencies as working together in real time.
Divide and conquer
Make sure you strike a balance of the work between each delegate. No matter the committee size, there will be enough work for both delegates. Avoid working alone and share as much as possible.
Play to your strengths
While equal workload may seem fair it does not make you more effective. If one is a better speaker they should give the more critical speeches. If one is a better resolution writer they should take point on the working paper and draft part. Specialization is key and the willingness to let the other one do what they do best will make a huge difference in your delegating.
Be present in all parts
While it is good to specialize it is also important that the chair does not feel one delegating is doing it all or carrying the other. For this reason, even if one is a better speaker or writer or coalition builder, it is important that the other be visible in all parts as well. Chairs will be looking for good teamwork over good solo play. For this reason it is important that the stronger speaker not take all the speeches or the less effective resolution writer still do some work on the clauses.
Keep each other informed
Communication is the most important part of any effective partnership. During breaks and after hours, you need to ensure that you both know what the other has done, what is happening within the other blocks and how the strong players are doing. If one delegate has agreed to something with another delegation or block, the other needs to know so they won’t contradict their partner. Try to find fixed times but, of course, be flexible. If one of you delayed a communication meeting there is probably a good reason.
Double Delegating in Small Committees
In a smaller committee everyone is noticed all the time. As a result, more delegates will be active and as if a spotlight is shining on everyone. Imagine a committee with only fifteen countries. Even if every country uses double delegates, that means there are only thirty people in the room. That is not many and fading into the crowd to rest ends up being much harder. In a smaller committee, double delegates need to do the following:
Make sure both of you stay busy. If one slacks off, it will be painfully obvious in a small committee. Remember our article about building a good relationship with your Chair. The Chair will notice if one of you is not doing your job.
Make speaking time seem equal
Chairs will be looking for teamwork. For this reason it is important that the more visible parts will seems to be equally shared. If one of you is a better, or more persuasive, speaker, they can take the more important speeches. It is also fine if one of you writes speeches for the other. It does not always need to come off as equal but a visible attempt needs to be seen.
Split, share and show responsibility
During unmoderated caucuses, both delegates should be lobbying, getting to know everyone in the room and working towards the same goal. This will show other delegates, and the Chair, that you are working well with your partner and mean business.
Double Delegating in Giant General Assemblies
While it may seem that one delegate can slack off and get away with it because there are so many people, don’t be tempted. The Chairs are often well trained in what they are looking for and you will be seen. Save the phone and social media for after hours. Stay awake. Both delegates need to work.
You still need to share speaking time
This is true in small and large committees but less critical in large ones. Here, chairs understand the division of labor and if the second delegate gets some speaking time the chairs will often that the division of responsibility into account. Both delegates should speak but you should choose together where and when. Sometimes you will only get four or five speeches over the entire conference. Figure out what each of you is good at what types of communication and make that your thing.
Split during unmoderated caucuses
Since there are so many delegates and delegations to canvass, you will need to split the responsibilities. For example, one of you can focus on the African Union countries while the other on the Oceana delegations. With each of you the ones to keep consistent communication with certain groups, you can each become experts in who you are dealing with. Just make sure you are both communicating the same message to all delegations and that you touch base with each other often.
Share note/running responsibilities
There will be many many many more notes to pass in large committees, so you should both share this duty. If one of you needs to write a working paper or draft resolution, make sure the other is handling notes or running messages. In other words, if one of you is busy, make sure the other is putting out the fires or dealing with other important negotiation.
Show the chairs that you are both the same delegation
Possibly the most important unsaid tip. Even if you are both excellent, active and well rounded delegates, do not be sure that the chair knows that you are a team. They might not have seen the name tag, placard or see where you are sitting. For this reason, it is important to approach the chair together at some early stage and make sure they make the connection and association.
Evaluating Other Double Delegates
Keep on eye on the both parts of the other delegation
Remember that just as you are a double delegation, so are all the others in the room. This should not take up the majority of your time, as you have lobbying, writing and speaking to do. However, once in awhile, look to see what the partner of the delegate you are speaking to, or working with, is doing. This can help you see if the delegations working with you are not playing games. It can also show you the effectiveness of other delegations to evaluate who is your competition for awards. For some this can be useful to see who are your competition for awards and who is not fulfilling a proper balance between teammates.
How Chairs Evaluate Double Delegates
Most Model UN Chairs are good at what they do. Often, they have reputations that precede them. The good ones will likely have a good amount of experience at conferences, so they know what to look out for. A giant Model UN GA should have a few chairs managing the room but a smaller double delegate room with fifty to sixty people could only have two chairs. When double delegating, it is quite possible the chairs will find it harder to keep track when it comes to analyzing your effectiveness. Why? Because there are two of you. To make sure they don’t miss anything important follow the guidelines above, be aware and use common sense..
To chairs it will look very bad for both of you if one delegate is slacking off and the other is doing all the work. Even if the one doing all the work is a great delegate, their chances of winning best delegate are slim. Why? Because you are a team and your score will reflect whether you worked with your partner well or not. A Chair will appreciate a double delegation more if both put in a 60% effort than if one did 100% of the work and the other slept or spent more time focused on their iPhone.
A good chair will also be taking notes on what took place in the room and whether you shared responsibilities such as speaking, negotiating, writing, etc. They may not catch everything you are doing, but a good chair will see the overall picture of your performance. That is their job. Assuming they are doing their you should both always strive to both be visible and put on your best performance.
What to do if one partner is more skilled or experienced
Sometimes there is a discrepancy between the two delegates working together. It doesn’t always have to be because one delegate is slacking off. It could be that one is a veteran of Model UN and the other is a new delegate placed there to gain experience. It could also be that one part of a team dropped out and a last minute replacement needed to be found. There could be many other reasons for such a matchup. Whatever the reason, once this is the reality, the experienced delegate should take the role of the teacher and by following the points below, the newer delegate will quickly improve. Of course, it may simply be that one delegate is just not a good one. They may not want to be there and are simply filling a society quota. In this case, the good delegate can still follow these tips to help ensure some of the weight gets pulled by the other and they hold their own enough to content for an award.
As with other cases, continue to try to show that both are active.
If one is a better speaker, they should write the speech for the weaker speaker and ensure that they give it. You could give them something that is not super important, such as the first speech in a moderated caucus. They can also start a speech with the stronger delegate finishing, but unless they know how to present well this highlights the contrast between you.
At worst, if there is no will and nothing to work with, try to give the second delegate at least every fourth speech.
Have them work to retain allies
Send them to ensure that your allies are still with you or have them try to gain other allies as opposed to taking point on delegate negotiation.
Get them to do scouting work ask what the conditions other blocks have before joining your resolution.
Have them proofread
If you are both confined to your seats, have the weaker, or newer, delegate proofread working papers, draft resolutions while you manage note passing and showing activity to the chairs.
Even if you are sure you have written it well, it never hurts to have a second set of eyes and it gives them something to do.
This can also help the newer delegate feel included as they learn to go over a Model UN resolution.
Make sure they are always moving
Don’t let a newer or weaker delegate simply sit there. They need to be active.
Give her or him specific tasks, or people to take to, to keep them moving.
In the rare case that they are unable to be creative or self motivating, make sure to meet often to give them new tasks.
Chairs are aware that not all matchups are balanced or fair. A good chair will also be able to see that you are doing the best you can with a difficult situation. If you are working to teach a junior partner, and that is seen, that can work in your favor and you will have a stronger support in your partner growing stronger by the hour. If you have an unmotivated placeholder, the chair can see that as well and a good chair won’t penalize you for what was clearly not your choice. Having a less able partner does not inherently ruin your chances for recognition but you will need to keep at it.
Having another delegate to work with can be a good thing, but it takes effort and communication for it to work. On the one hand you will have a partner to ensure you meet your country and committee goals, but both of you need to be active and engaged. From larger committees with hundreds of delegates, to smaller committees with only twenty, double delegates must ensure they are appropriately approaching each situation.
Having someone to work with can also be a blessing. It also opens the door to an entire other side of Model UN which teaches, and experiences, different elements than the solo delegate model. Stay focused on the conference goals and keep each other in the game. If you both strive to represent your country’s interests to the best of your ability, implement effective Model UN strategy and look out for each other while doing it, you will come out on top