When you hire an individual to be the moderator for your next conference, meeting, or event, it’s important that they possess certain attributes.
The moderator is commonly called the emcee or host. But could be referred to as master of ceremonies, entertainer, anchor, presenter or event chair. Whatever the person is called, their job/function is the same.
The moderator’s job is to set and maintain the tone of the meeting from start to finish.
And for clarification, I’m not using the term moderator for the specific purpose of leading a panel discussion. That moderator – while potentially the same person – is performing a different function in the role of leading a panel discussion.
Here is a checklist for the five attributes every moderator should possess.
- Strategic thinker and planner. This mostly occurs prior to the start of the event. A moderator with a strategic mindset will help the meeting planners and organizers get crystal clear about the purpose and tone of the event. A great moderator will not agree to take on an assignment unless purpose and tone are established. A strategic thinking moderator is unwilling to show up and wing it. They’ll insist on and help you develop a plan.
- Energetic. The successful moderator needs boundless energy. They need to show up early, meet-and-interact with people non-stop for hours at a time. Additionally, they must possess enough reserve energy to turn-it-up-a-notch at any given moment as necessary.
- Awareness. Moderators need an enhanced sense of awareness. This awareness manifests itself in two different ways. First, there is an awareness of everything that is occurring in the surroundings. They can sense the energy and mood of the room or group. This awareness allows them to make or take corrective actions if the event’s tone and purpose gets off track. Second, the moderator is self-aware. This awareness allows them to behave and act in a way that projects confidence and leadership to the attendees. The self-aware moderator understands that eyes will be on him or her at all times.
- Quick Thinker. Events occur in real time. Stuff happens. The successful moderator has the ability to react quickly and change direction on a dime. Moderators need to be quick thinkers. It’s not a coincidence that moderators who are strategic and prepared (attribute #1); and have a strong sense of awareness (attribute #3); are also quick thinkers. The quick thinking moderator anticipates what occurring in real time and isn’t afraid to pull the trigger of action.
- Pleasing personality. A moderator can possess all of the first four attributes and still be a jerk. The successful moderator has their ego under control and performs their role with the desire to be helpful to others. Their purpose in life is to be truly helpful. And their role as moderator is to make everyone else look good. This includes everyone from the meeting planners and organizers … to the other speakers and performers … to each and every attendee.
Great moderators serve a different – yet complementary – role to the dozens of other professionals that they interact with to make a successful conference or event take place.
Great moderators have the ability to see the big picture, maintain their energy, sense what’s occurring in real-time, change on a dime, and do it with grace.
This post was originally published on SpeakingGump.com on March 8, 2016.
It has been updated and edited to appear here on ChangeByGumption.com
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