The moderator can be the key to a successful virtual event. The moderator must both manage the session and handle the audience – all while achieving the expected outcomes of the event.
Before the event, preparation is key. It’s important to clearly know the expected outcomes, structure and agenda, and audience demographics.
- Know the technology – mute/un-mute functions, sharing screens, videos, polling and survey applications, the chat box, etc.
- Test your screen presence – are you presenting yourself in the best way possible?
- Check with the speakers as to how they would like to be introduced.
- Run at least one test session a few days before the event.
During the event, again keep your screen presence in mind. Keep your audience engaged by being expressive in using facial gestures, your hands, and voice. Give visual cues that will encourage the participants to speak or to stop speaking.
- Introduce the event session by explaining the purpose, agenda, and outline any protocols. Update the group throughout the session regarding where they are on the track of the agenda.
- Be sure that the speakers and participants are aware of available tools such as a shared whiteboard and private chat rooms.
- Control the length of your presenters’ talks and ensure enough time is allowed for questions and answers.
- Be prepared to moderate a question and answer session at the end of the speaker’s talk. How will the audience submit questions – via the text chat window, or over the microphone? During the talk itself, the moderator should monitor the chat window and note down topics or issues for later discussion.
Bring closure when ending the event by recapping main points and outlining the next steps. Remember to tell participants where they can access the presentation and how to contact others after the event.