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How You Can Be a Memorable Seminar Moderator

You or a team at your business has planned the event. The professional speakers are booked. Now all that’s left […]

You or a team at your business has planned the event. The professional speakers are booked. Now all that’s left is to make sure the event runs smoothly. If you’ve been tasked with being a business seminar moderator, do your best to make the day go well by being engaging, concise and on top of events. Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed; becoming a memorable seminar moderator is simply a matter of planning ahead.

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Highlight Important Points

As moderator, it will likely fall to you to introduce every speaker or give an introduction to other events. You’ll be the emcee of the event, the person getting everyone pumped for the next stage of the seminar. Don’t overdo it. Your job is to make frequent, concise appearances throughout the event but never to be the center of attention.

When introducing a speaker, for example, give a brief educational and professional background of your guest. Be sure to get in touch with them ahead of time so you can check this bio with them and so you can double-check how to pronounce their name. Then state why they’re speaking at the event by mentioning one or two points of their presentation related to the event’s theme.

Hold Q&As

Some speakers hold Q&A sessions after their presentations. This is an excellent way not only to keep the audience engaged, but to further drive home the themes of the presentations. A brief Q&A session allows people to get clarification on anything they found confusing or to learn a bit more about an aspect of the presentation they found compelling.

Ask your speaker or their representative if they include a Q&A session after their presentations. If not, as the moderator, hold one yourself. Pay close attention to the presentation; you may even be able to get an outline of the major points of the presentation ahead of time so you can prepare. Allow questions so you can encourage interactivity with the seminar, and think of a few discussion points beforehand in case you’re initially met with a quiet crowd. Just be sure not to let the session run too long.

Stick to the Schedule

Another of the tasks that falls to you as moderator is to make sure nothing runs over its allotted time. Whether you’re leading a Q&A session yourself or a speaker is talking, don’t let the day get off course by letting anyone go more than five minutes over their allotted time. Also, make sure you include an extra ten to twenty minutes in the overall day’s schedule just in case a series of speakers goes over time. You can always allow a brief break if you don’t need to use the excess time for speakers.

Alert every speaker ahead of time that you may ask them to wrap up if they’re going over time. You can either tell them you’ll give a signal silently from the side of the room or the front row, or you can even step up and whisper in their ear; there’s no need to be overly formal if the day is at risk of falling behind schedule. Just remember to smile, and don’t allow yourself to get too stressed even if you’re falling behind. That’s what the extra time you put in the schedule is for.

Remember the Event Theme

Every introduction, every transition and every Q&A session should have a point that leads back to the theme of your event. Whether your seminar is about a specific innovation in your company or a general business practice like “innovation” or “creativity,” remember to tie every event back to the theme. State why a speaker is a good fit for your company and explain how their presentation ties to the seminar’s theme. Steer the Q&A session discussions back to your theme. This kind of repetition will make the whole seminar seem more cohesive and will help drive the point home with the seminar’s attendees.

Being a memorable business seminar moderator is as simple as highlighting important points in a speech, leading Q&A sessions if a speaker doesn’t do that himself, keeping the day on schedule and returning to the event’s theme wherever you can. Don’t let the stress of the day get to you — you’re all there to learn and to enjoy yourselves. Plan ahead and know what’s expected of you and the day will be one that everyone remembers fondly.

About the Author: Jia Li Hsieh is a contributing writer and corporate event coordinator. She recommends the Leading Authorities Speakers Bureau to any business looking for speakers to enliven an event and engage the attendees.

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