Tuesday, May 3, 2016

3 rhetorical devices even moderators can use

Because you're "just the moderator," you may think you can't add a rhetorical flourish to your remarks, brief as they are. But that would be a big mistake. Moderators can make a stronger impression, and tie the panel together thematically and otherwise, by deploying the same rhetorical devices a keynote speaker might use. Start with these ideas:
  • Use metaphor to tie your panelists' remarks into a common theme: Metaphors are a durable, visual, strong way to convey an idea or theme in a compact and vivid way. Take a look at your panelists' remarks with an eye to a metaphor that can tie them together, then use that metaphor for your introductory remarks, and as you turn to each panelist. Read more about working a metaphor all the way through your remarks for more ideas.
  • Stay organized with the rule of three: The shortest example of the rhetorical rule of three is the sentence "Friends, Romans, countrymen: Lend me your ears." But you'll do well as a moderator if your employ the rule of three to organize your own remarks, whether you are listing three things to know about the next speaker or three ways to see the issue the panel is about to discuss. Learn more about why the rule of three helps you as a speaker and your audience as listeners.
  • Use the antimetabole to create contrast and drama: The antimetabole ("Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.") sets up a contrast with delightful wordplay. Why does it work for moderators? It packs a ton of contrast and drama into a compact package--just what you need when you want to have impact without taking up all the panelists' time. Consider the panel's presentations and see whether you can work this form into your introductions or opening remarks. Go here for more about this useful tool.
(Creative Commons licensed photo by UN Women)

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.