In fact, the moderator is in a unique position to help the speakers, even if they don't seem to think of it as help. Here are some ways you can aid the panelists when you're working with them ahead of the panel:
- Be a good go-between: You can save the speakers time and keep the panel policies consistent if you carry speaker issues and requests to the organizers, and vice versa.
- Flag format issues in advance: Both you and the organizer may have format ideas and limits that will affect the time and effort speakers spend in preparing. Tell them early about limits like no slides or a specific number of slides, time for their presentations, whether they can or should promote their services, what audio or video options are available, and so on.
- Themes and lines of questioning: If you or the organizer have themes or a specific line of questioning in mind, clue in the speakers before they prepare their contributions. And if you anticipate some controversy, take the time to talk through how you expect to handle it.
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.