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To Moderate or Not? That is my Question.

Posted by Shawn Cardinal on
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As a follow up to my recent AMA webinar, “Can You Hear Me Now? Best Practices for Presenting to a Virtual Audience,” I’ve compiled the questions I didn’t have time to answer. In this blog post, I tackle questions about whether a moderator is necessary during an event.

microphone and filterQ. Should webinars always have a moderator? And should they be heard too? Or should they have more of a background role?

A. Let me first start by saying there are no set rules for acting as, or seeking out, a moderator. Personally, I prefer to have a moderator when I’m speaking to a larger group where there may be a robust Q&A session. I have found that when you make a presentation more “conversational” it’s more consumable by the audience and much easier to listen to.  On a related note, when someone else introduces you, they’ve instantly promoted you as a “special attraction” worthy of a personal introduction. During the presentation, the audience then “sees” you at a virtual podium with your emcee on the side ready to jump in - think Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon.

So when should you have a moderator? Ask yourself these questions:

 

  1. Is the subject matter complicated, somewhat “dry” or is there a lot of information to cover? If yes, a moderator can bring some life into the presentation. Even if it’s just to add another voice to the mix try and break up the monotony; rehearse with the speaker so you know when/if it’s OK to jump in.

    • Tip: Rehearse, don’t over-rehearse. Work toward an “organic” interaction with questions, comments or experiences.

  2. Can you co-present with the moderator? Instead of a role just as moderator, expand that role to take a portion of the presentation to give the audience different voices and presentation styles. It will also give your speaker a break.
    • Tip: While one of you is speaking, the other can/should be answering and managing questions from the chat feature.
  3. Is there good chemistry between you and a team member? By all means then lobby them to present with you. You’ll both have fun, sound more natural, and the audience will get more out of your material.
  4. Do you anticipate many questions to come through the chat feature? If so, a moderator allows the speaker to concentrate on the delivery of the content without the risk of being distracted by questions and comments coming into chat. The moderator can flag questions and prioritize answers to make the Q&A session valuable for the audience.
  5. Want to have someone to introduce you, tee up Q&A and conclude the webinar? This can take some of the pressure off the logistical side of the presentation. As the speaker, you can then concentrate on the material and your moderator can manage the logistical/technical side of things.

Did you miss the webinar? Listen now and let me know what other questions you have below.

Next up – I answer your questions about managing Q&A behind the scenes. Also, stay tuned for more of my professional development best practices as I kick off my new blog series on making you a better presenter. 

 


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