Tuesday, January 17, 2017

BBC Woman's Hour top tip on moderating the long-winded answer

What are moderators for, if not to rein in the long-winded among us? We've looked before at how the moderator can best handle the long-winded questioner. But what about the long-winded answer?

On a panel, that might come from either a panelist-speaker, or an audience member. But recently, in this episode of the BBC's Woman's Hour radio program, presenter Jane Garvey did a masterful job of reining in one Member of Parliament Philip Davies, newly appointed to a committee and seemingly intent on describing his views at a longer length than one might recommend.

Garvey gently attempted an interruption, saying simply, "Mr. Davies..." when he cut back in and chided her.

"I wish you'd let me make my point!" he said crossly.

"Please, do," said Garvey. The pause at the comma is critical to the meaning of this sentence, and signals to the audience that the moderator's well aware the speaker has been going on too long, without having to say so. This was on radio, but in a live event, do resist the urge to add an eyeroll.

Garvey is a master of restraint, well worth your emulation. It's worth having a couple of gentle retorts in your back pocket so you are ready to use them when the opportunity presents itself. Bravo, Jane Garvey! We'll have to add this to our list of ways moderators can interrupt speakers.

(BBC photo of Garvey)

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.