There are debates in the air – can you feel it? Talk about slings and arrows…
All this talk about who’s moderating the presidential debates got me thinking about panel moderators.
I often moderate panels. Here’s the content I must have at my disposal when I do:
- Names, titles, and bios of each panelist. If someone has a tricky name to pronounce, I have the phonetic spelling of that name as well, just to make sure I don’t botch it.
- Short introduction. It never hurts to have your introductory remarks printed off and handy, plus the name/s of the event sponsors if applicable.
- List of questions I’ll be posing. And then some. It’s standard to share the questions ahead of time with your panelists so everyone’s prepared. Always have extra questions handy as well. Sometimes you go through the prepared questions quickly and find yourself at a loss for words. Avoid this! Draft a lot of extra questions.
- Copies of relevant articles if available. Often, the topic we’re covering is timely and/or controversial, and other journalists or experts have weighed in. I like to print copies of such content and have them with me. I highlight key passages on them so I can reference them quickly.
- Attendee list. If you’re lucky, you’ll have received a list of audience members. When I get such a list, I print it and have it in front of me. Rule #1 of public speaking: know thy audience.
Having this information handy will ease your job as moderator and enhance your professionalism.
(c) 2016 Margie Dana