Tuesday, May 9, 2017

What panel moderators can learn from journalist moderators

One smart tactic I use to continually improve my moderation of panels is to listen to journalists' interviews. The best of them give me ideas for creative lines of questioning, handling talkative speakers, and getting better answers. On occasion, they provide cautionary tales, examples of what not to do. Here are some of the best tips for moderators that I've gleaned from journalists:
  1. Chris Wallace's moderation of a presidential debate yielded good examples of moderation that provides context, creates a conversation, and stays on topic.
  2. Terry Gross gave a great example of a creative line of questioning you can use to discuss unpopular issues, products, or tactics in your field.
  3. Matt Lauer's interview moderation became an example of interrupting a woman too much, compared to a companion interview of a man, during the election cycle.
  4. Jane Garvey demonstrated the perfect tactic for handling the long-winded interviewee and getting him to finish up, already.
  5. John Dickerson's tactic for drawing out an interviewee can help you get more out of your panelists, and keep them from making broad, unexplained statements.
  6. Megyn Kelly came in for criticism for her tough questions while moderating one of last year's presidential debates, prompting a discussion of just how tough moderators should be.
  7. Frank Sesno's new book on asking questions draws on his experience as a CNN journalist and takes a deep dive into questions. Moderators will find this useful not only for posing better questions themselves, but for understanding what's behind audience questions.

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.