Tuesday, May 24, 2016

From moderator to MC: A big jump?

Where do you go next in your professional development once you've mastered being the moderator? Some speakers start with moderation of panels and move into being a panelist or a keynote speaker. But another path for the seasoned moderator is to become a master of ceremonies or MC for big events.

These speaking tasks have a lot in common, with the scope and size of the event being the factors that change. You need to introduce the proceedings as well as the speakers or others participating on stage; keep the audience's needs in mind; and move the event along so it stays on time and on target. Demonstrating your prowess and skill as a panel moderator is a good way to demonstrate that you're ready to be an MC for a larger event.

If you're looking to make this jump, an unlikely but effective (and entertaining) guide is I'm Hosting as Fast as I Can: Zen and the Art of Staying Sane in Hollywood, the memoir of Tom Bergeron, who hosts Dancing with the Stars in the U.S. Aside from being a funny read, loaded with Bergeron's dry humor, you'll learn--through his initial career in radio to his hosting and MC work--about handling a crisis on stage on live television, staying organized and focused, and thinking about the larger picture when you are the master of ceremonies. Try the audiobook version, which Bergeron reads--he's a vocal pro, so it's a great listen as well as a great read.

Don't forget that conference and event organizers want the same qualities in an MC that they hope for in a panel moderator: Someone who's organized; keeps the event moving on time; able to flex to handle situations on the fly; and most of all, someone who keeps the audience in mind, every time. If that's your approach, consider adding MC duties to your speaker resume.

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.