The moderator is one of the key persons of every event. His or her role is crucial in ensuring that the event goes as planned and that it finishes on time. Sometimes, the moderator is the only bridge between the speaker/presenter and the audience and is the one helping to keep the conversation moving forward.
Here are 5 tips to help you with this important task.
1. Know your participants
The first thing you should do when preparing for an event is to conduct a thorough research on trending topics and on the participants. Find a way to communicate with each of the participants in order to:
- Find out why they are attending the event
- What they are bringing to the discussion
- How much they are informed about the subject
One way to do this is to schedule a short call with each participant before the event and get to know them.
2. Rehearse the introductions
You have only one chance to introduce each of the speakers. For that, rehearse your introductions and prepare strong opening lines to keep everyone intrigued for what will come next.
Don’t read the names of the contestants. Memorize all of their names and keep an eye contact with the audience to make your introductions more impactful. If you follow our tip number 1, memorizing the names will not be a problem because you already had one-on-one conversations with each of them.
Be neutral when introducing each of the speakers. Avoid using such adjectives as “brilliant”, “talented” or “the best”. This will create a bias and will make the audience have a prejudice on the presenter before he or she even starts talking.
3. Regulate the time
Time management! This is one of the most important tasks for a moderator. You have to make sure that the contestants finish on time and that the Q&A session for each of them involves as many questions as possible. To achieve this, be attentive and listen to the question that is asked. If it is too complex, then the person asking that question can be invited to ask it after the panel is over.
On the other hand, make sure to give the audience enough time to formulate their questions. Allow them 2 or 3 minutes to reflect on what’s been said after each presentation.
If the contestants ask the audience to use technology for asking questions or for answering them, do your best to ensure that these activities are kept in their time limits. If the audience is given 2 minutes to vote, stop the voting after the time is up.
4. Watch the audience’s reaction
When coordinating the communication with the audience, watch their reactions closely. Their facial expressions will tell how they feel about a specific concept or statement. Based on these hints, you will be able to decide in what direction to continue the conversation.
If you notice from the people’s facial expressions that they are confused, it would be wise to ask the panelist to elaborate more on his/her answer before moving on. This is your responsibility as a moderator; it will ensure the event’s success.
5. Don’t forget that your task is to coordinate not to present
Some moderators get too involved during the Q&A sessions and start answering some of the questions directed to panelists instead of them. This is a mistake. Remember that your goal is to coordinate the whole process and to ensure that the event goes smoothly from the beginning till the end. It doesn’t matter how much more you are informed about the topic of the discussion compared to the panelist, you still can’t answer questions for them.
To wrap up, thank your audience and the presenters and make one final statement that will serve as a take-away for everyone.
We hope this article helps to become more professional and efficient in moderating your future events!
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Written by Mariam Nazaryan