Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Worst moderator ever? The unprepared one

When people write about the worst panel moderators ever--and they do--it's the unprepared moderator who most often is singled out for scorn. Two recent examples demonstrate a serious and a playful look at these worst-ever scenarios.

In this post on "Panels from Hell," the author writes about how a moderator can make or break a panel:
A terrific moderator – a good moderator can ameliorate against some of the worst panel sins (microphone hogging, long-winded answers, blatant and constant self-promotion) – but I’ve been on panels where it is immediately clear that the moderator hasn’t even bothered to read up on the panelists work! In my mind a terrific moderator is prepared, professional, witty and unafraid to step where angels fear to tread in order to prevent the above mentioned sins from ruining a perfectly good panel presentation. What I think turns off many in the audience is a moderator who either sits back and lets the panel degenerate into a rant/lecture/ego-fest, or one who is so intrusive it is as if she (or he) was a panelist rather than a moderator.
At New York's Comic Con, a panel discussion on IFC's The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret took the unprepared moderator to gag status, playing out just how frustrating an unprepared leader of a panel can be, at least for the panelist. Call this a humorous cautionary tale, although I can imagine this grating on the nerves of at least some audience members.

(Creative Commons licensed photo by tylerhoff)

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.