Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Does the moderator need a script?

You may be tempted to moderate a panel without a script in front of you, whether you're a newbie or seasoned moderator.

My advice? Rethink that urge.

That's because moderation is a special task in public speaking. Coaches often say, "Every speech has a job to do," and in moderation, the job involves details that you shouldn't leave to memory.

You may not need to write out your remarks word for word, but you need the substance of what you intend to include. Among the things you need in your script are:
  • the name of the event and the full name of the organization sponsoring it;
  • how you're introducing yourself and your connection to the panel and topic;
  • names and pronunciations of names for each panelist;
  • your short introduction for each panelist, which isn't the same as their full-length biographies;
  • your list of starter questions for the panel, with some room on the page so you can scribble notes as more ideas come to you;
  • a list of the rules or parameters for questions and answers;
  • any announcements the organizers wish you to make before or after the start of the panel.
And if that list sounds too basic, just think how you'll feel when you're up at the lectern forgetting the name of the event or how you want to introduce yourself. It happens. Why not use a script as an insurance policy and confidence builder?

(Creative Commons licensed photo by Witness)

Need more coaching on how to be a better panel moderator? Order the new ebook The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels. At just $3.99 and available in many formats, it's a great back-pocket coach to take on stage with you in your smartphone or tablet. Find more tips on public speaking on The Eloquent Woman blog.