What is the added value of a moderator?
Halfway through the panel discussion, the first phone screen starts to appear in the audience. Some visitors can’t hide their yawning. Desperately, the organiser wonders: ‘but the speakers are experts, right?’ and the superb location, the conference venues in London, can’t be the problem. They’ve forgotten one important element: a good moderator. This article will tell you what a good moderator should be capable of.
It is not entirely a coincidence that the best paid television personalities also lead live discussions. They are paid well to lead lively and interesting discussions at their own table.
At your conference, do you also want the liveliness of a talk show (plus perhaps with more depth)? Then hiring a professional moderator is a good idea.
Structuring the discussion
Of course, it starts already with the set-up of a discussion. A moderator will think about good positions that divide the speakers, because there’s nothing more boring that a one-sided panel.
The earlier you involve the moderator, the better the results
They can also think with you about the global theme of the day. What do the visitors take home after it’s over?
Impartial but stimulating
The moderator must indeed be impartial in the discussion, but stirring the pot up a little by taking an interesting position or asking a question is a good idea.
Interacting with the room
As well, much knowledge is often present at the hall. And for those who have travelled specially to this meeting location from somewhere in London or even from abroad, they also want to be involved in the discussion. A good moderator senses when to interact with the room. They come back to interesting speakers and stop chatterers from rambling on. As well, a good moderator can summarise and encourage participation.
Sensing energy levels
Sometimes, attention starts to wane. A moderator can sense that. Maybe it’s time for a follow-up topic or a fun intermezzo. Moreover, with an enthusiastic introduction, they ensure that all speakers get a proper applause. It’s good for their self-confidence and also for the whole presentation.
Keeping track of time
The sense of time of someone on stage often does not match the sense of time of someone in the room. An independent moderator keeps proper track of time and makes sure that speakers don’t have to deal with unpleasant surprises. They announce well in advance when it’s time to wrap up or move on to the next point, avoiding endless discussions.
Crowd pleaser vs. professional
With a famous Brit as a moderator, you can certainly fill London venues, but are they also good for the above-mentioned points?
Hiring a celebrity
Ideally, you have the best of both worlds. Many known journalists and presenters offer their services to conferences and events. But an afternoon with someone famous can already cost quite a lot. Moreover, how much preparation time you can expect from a such a well-known person?
Do you want to hire a celebrity? In any case, make sure that they:
- Have experience leading conferences. Feel free to also ask for references.
- Has affinity with the subject.
- Appeals to the target group of your conference (a known presenter from the 1990s may not attract a younger crowd).
Hiring a professional moderator
You can find tons moderators on the Internet. Speaker firms can also help you find the right person for the job. As well, personal recommendations always work wonders.
The best is if you can see the person in question live in action. As a good alternative, are there YouTube films available?
Be sure to think about how important it is to you that the potential moderator has knowledge of your branch.