If you tune in to a webinar 9 times out of 10 there will be a single person introducing and driving the content of the webinar. Typically, these individuals are referred to as moderators, however they could be referred to as hosts or Co-ordinators.
Moderators are the driving force behind any webinar and can make or break the experience for attendees. The goal of a moderator is to keep the event on track and moving forward, remain calm under pressure and handle any difficulties with minimum disturbance to the event.
The thought of moderating an event is often a daunting task, but planning ahead can really quell these nerves. In the interest of planning ahead, here we give you our top tips for moderating a webinar.
As the driving force behind the webinar it is important that the Moderator is set up in the right location, with the correct connections.
Ensure you are in a quiet meeting room or office, where nobody is going to come in and interrupt. Additionally, make sure that the space is big enough for what you need, whether that’s two monitors or notes for example.
It is also important to have both a strong internet connection and a landline telephone, as this gives the strongest possible connection and minimizes the risks of you getting cut off.
Know the webinar objective
While it may not have been the webinar Moderator charged with the organization prior to the day of the event it is important that they understand the reasoning behind the webinar and the goals and objectives.
All webinars will have been organised for a reason, ask questions and find out the reasoning behind it. You can use the webinar goals and objectives to determine how you drive the webinar.
Not everyone is destined for radio and not everyone has a huge vocal range. But anyone can be a Moderator. When I say know yourself, I mean know what makes you comfortable and brings out your best.
Don’t try really hard to be somebody you aren’t, be yourself and be comfortable and this will translate to an engaging webinar Moderator.
Planning a script can help with this. If you know what you are going to say and practice this ahead of time you will be confident and comfortable in your introductions and closing sections. A script also ensures that you cover everything you need to, without missing sections and stumbling to come back to points. Everything is just smoother.
Know your presenters
You must make sure you know the presenters ahead of time. Find out who they are and what they do before you even speak to them. Showing this level of knowledge will give them more confidence in you as a Moderator.
Make sure you attend any rehearsals or pre-event calls and establish a running order with your presenters. I would recommend coming on between each presenter to break things up a touch in between. Use these pre calls as an opportunity to establish pronunciations of names and any preferences they have regarding company names or job titles.
Listen to the event
Be sure to listen along to the event as it progresses. This means that you will be able to guide the session if you need to and interject at any necessary point.
It also means you will be aware of any technical issues as they arise, so you can respond as best you can. For example, if your speaker loses phone connection you will be able to jump in, avoiding any dead air.
Finally, by listening along you will be better informed for the question and answer session. By this I mean that firstly, you will know who to direct questions to, and secondly you can open with your own statement based on what you may have heard.
Learn the platform
It is so important to know the webinar platform that you are using. This will make you much more confident and in turn you will make your presenters more confident. If your presenters have a question they may be inclined to ask you, and if you can’t have an answer, it may shake their confidence a little.
This also gives you a little more control when running the event. Learn to use polls and questions so that you have these tools available to you as the webinar moves along.
Be prepared to manage the webinar timing
We are all guilty of losing track of time, especially when we get talking passionately about something. Therefore, it is highly likely that your presenters will not be monitoring the time as they are presenting, so it is up to you as the Moderator to manage this for them.
Now, most webinar providers will not cut you off or chastise you for going over the allotted time. However, those that have signed up to the event may have other appointments they need to get to so try and keep within the allotted time.
Mostly, ensure that the core presentations have been done and if you are going to run over it will just be questions and answers, so those that have to leave bang on time do not feel short changed.
Make the Q&A engaging
Remember, that you are directing the Q&A. Keep it engaging, invite conversation from all speakers. A very strict monologue of question then answer, question then answer, rinse repeat will not keep your audience engaged.
Ask all presenters to comment on each question. Ask if they agree with one another or if they’d like to add anything. Finally, with the Q&A don’t close on a negative question, try and keep it really positive for the finish.
There we go, next time you are invited to moderate on a webinar jump in with both feet, and remember our top tips. These should make you feel more confident and prepared for any outcome.
Want to discuss how you could get the most out of your event? Get in touch