Best Practices (Video): Moderate Webinars Like A Pro!

A great webinar moderator is the easiest way to improve the quality and impact of your webinars. Get expert tips on how to moderate webinars to improve the audience experience and put your speakers at ease. Check out our Best Practices video below.

Video Transcript – Moderate Webinars Like A Pro:

Thanks for joining us for another episode  in our Webinar Best Practices Series.

This week, we’re looking at Moderation and it’s quite apt that this week, I’ll be taking the role of moderator and we brought in guest speaker, Lev Cribb who is our resident host and Hosting and Moderation expert here, at Webinar Experts.

[Thom Gornall] Lev, just to start us off, first of all, why is it so important to have a moderator and what can that bring to a webinar?

[Lev Cribb] Well first of all, moderator and host often are used interchangeably. Sometimes it’s the same, sometimes it can mean slightly different things, but for all intents and purposes today, we’re talking about moderators for webinars. And a moderator, a good moderator can instantly make your webinar sound a lot more professional, that’s for sure, and it adds more of a dynamic between the speakers and a moderator, by having that go back and forth a little bit, by having a bit of conversation. It saves having to listen to one or two speakers present for half an hour, 45 minutes, or up to an hour. And it just creates a bit of a better delivery overall. It also adds consistency of format, so you would, for example, have the same moderator and the audience would come back for that, and audience like consistency in webinars. So having a consistent moderator presenting and moderating in a consistent way helps the overall format of your webinars, as well. And I suppose most importantly, it allows speakers to focus on their content. That’s what they’re there for, they are the experts, and that, so that’s really important role so that the moderator can take some of the housekeeping items away from the speakers, as well.

[Thom Gornall] Okay, brilliant. So, with that in mind, how does a moderator help with engagement? You know, particularly with the engagement tools you might use throughout the webinar? You know, specifically, we might look at the Q&A. How does a moderator help and push that forward, and help the speakers in what they’re doing?

[Lev Cribb] It comes back to the point about speakers focusing on content. They shouldn’t have to worry about how the platform works, what housekeeping items to cover at the beginning, how to cover the Q&A at the end. That’s the moderator’s role and really, that’s what they’re there for is to make the speaker more comfortable, in addition to obviously creating that consistent format. And then it helps when moderator and speakers take it in turn. So for example, as a moderator, I would come in from time to time, to remind the audience that they can ask questions, remind them that there is a Q&A, refer, perhaps, to some resources that lead on from the subject, be it in a webinar series, or that white papers are related, or certain parts of the Website, as well. And that’s a lot more dynamic as a webinar delivery as opposed to just having a long monologue, for example.

[Thom Gornall] So talking about guests, not all speakers are natural at what they do. A lot of these are experts in their fields and speaking doesn’t always come naturally to them. What do you do as a moderator to make these speakers feel comfortable and energetic in what they’re doing when they’re working with you on a webinar?

[Lev Cribb] Yeah, a lot of that work is done upfront before the webinar actually goes live, and there’s quite a few hours involved, typically, to prepare for that, prepare for the speakers, for example, and that could include, for example, a walk-through of the logistics. What will happen on the day of the webinar? When do we dial in? What do we do in the pre-call? What will be the format and who does what during the webinar? Speakers don’t like surprises. They want to focus on the content, so they should. So, covering that to begin with is important. And make sure you’re familiar with that as a moderator and as a speaker. So, knowing that things will work well, that there is a purpose to everything that you do during the webinar is important, and it puts the speakers a lot more at ease.

[Thom Gornall] So talking about preparation before a webinar, what do you like to do as the moderator before the webinar begins, both in the short term and the long term, and in that little bit of time just before the webinar starts, and in the weeks preparing for a webinar? What are the things you like to do to help that webinar run smoothly?

[Lev Cribb] It’s very important to connect with the speakers in advance, get to know them a little bit. That relationship will be audible and visible on the webinar, itself. If you’ve only just met in the pre-call, it can make the overall delivery quite stale. And familiarize yourself with the content. You’re not presenting it, but you will certainly be moderating a Q&A on that. So knowing where to position certain questions, for example, in what order, and what it relates to, helps again, with the overall delivery and the experience for the audience. And I typically prepare a script without it sounding scripted. So, it’s actually written out. I will read it out. Even having done hundreds of webinars, there’s always going to be some things specific to that webinar that will be different. And in the heat of the moment, you can easily forget that, and it could be a very important call to action, for example, that you haven’t included because it’s different for this webinar than it was for the previous one. So it’s important to prepare them because you will, in the heat of the moment, forget something, and it provides that consistent experience, a consistent delivery, a consistent format. And, last but not least, thank the speakers afterwards. Follow up with them. Often, they will have put hours into the preparation. They probably were quite nervous, perhaps, as well, so follow up, say thank you, give them a bit of a summary of the performance of the webinar. They’ll appreciate that. And then, you know, you can give them feedback, as well, if you feel there was something that worked particularly well, or perhaps that they could improve on. Not everybody’s open to that always, but most of the speakers that we have hosted always ask, you know, “How can I improve? “Was everything okay?” And it’s important for them to learn, as well, and for you to help facilitate this, perhaps, new format for them, as well, and how they can improve going forward.

[Thom Gornall] Brilliant, well thank you so much for joining us today and just sharing some of your tips and tricks that you’ve picked up over a number of years, now, doing webinar hosting. So I really appreciate you joining us today.

– Thank you very much.

[Thom Gornall] And so thank you out there, as well, for joining us for this short video, and please tune in for the next one that will be coming up. And please sign up to us and subscribe on YouTube, on LinkedIn, and make sure you subscribe to us over on Twitter at @WebinarEXP.

We hope you enjoyed our Video “Moderate Webinars Like A Pro” – check out our other videos for more Webinar Best Practices!

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