How to moderate a panel or webinar like a pro (part 1)

If you have been asked to moderate a panel or webinar, preparation is key to ensuring the session goes smoothly.

Here are some things to think about and questions to ask before the webinar to help you prepare.

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

What is the purpose of the webinar and who is the audience?

This is an important starting point because it will steer the questions you ask or choose from the audience. And understanding the audience is also important for knowing when to ask panellists to clarify or explain something in more detail.

What is the format?

As the moderator, once the event goes live you are the captain of the ship which means you need to keep things running smoothly. To do this you need to know the order of proceedings.

For example, are there presentations and in what order, is there a poll or polls and what is the timing of those? Will the audience get the opportunity to ask questions and when?

There is more tech to think about on a webinar so you may need to mute at certain points or switch off your video for presentations.

What are you going to ask?

Even if the plan is for all questions to come from the audience, it is important to prepare some in advance just in case.

Talk to the speakers about important points they want to make and come up with a list of questions that enable them to make those points.

Your introduction

Check if there are certain things you need to say at the start. Will you be introducing the panellists or inviting them to introduce themselves?

As part of your introduction, set out the format for the panel or webinar for the audience so they understand what is going to happen and can prepare questions if that is an option.

Finishing in style

Similar to your introduction, it is a good idea to check if there is anything specific you need to say at the end – other than thanking the panellists and audience.

For example, if people want more information about the topic discussed, where they can find that. Will there be follow up content relating to the webinar or a recording of the event available, and where will that be.

Read How to moderate a panel or webinar like a pro part 2 here.

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