Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Logistics and the panel moderator: 8 types of questions to ask

I'd love to tell you that moderating panels is all about how you look and sound on stage, and to some extent, that's true. But the smart moderator starts her interviewing with the event organizers, to learn the answers to these 8 categories of questions, at a minimum.

Each of the answers will have an impact on your time management, speaker interaction, and audience approval:
  1. Food service and noise: Is there a meal going on while we're speaking? Before? After? When does the meal service begin and end?
  2. Announcements: Does someone from the organization need to make announcements at the beginning or end? How much time will you need?
  3. Gifts: Are you compensating the speakers or presenting them with a gift? Do we need to work presentation of the gift into the panel time, or will you do that offline?
  4. Registration: What do the speakers need to do about registering? What do you need to do?
  5. Audio-visual needs (AV): Do you want to let the speakers use slides, video, audio or other media? Who is handling the logistics and equipment? If you won't have any equipment, will we be making that clear in advance? Who will let me know the AV needs and the sequence (if any) in which they need to be incorporated?
  6. Introduction info: Who's in charge of collecting the speakers' bios and photos or other advance material? When will I have access to their bios?
  7. My introduction info: Do you need a bio and photo for me? When do you need it?
  8. In-room support: Can someone meet me a half-hour before the session to go over setup and AV?

(Creative Commons licensed photo by Municipal Art Society)

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