Any time you host an event of any type, it’s important to think about the transition times. Energy can be generated or lost during those downtimes at a social occasion. Who is going to keep the crowd engaged between speeches, presentations, and performances? Well, in truth, it takes a performer of another sort: A great event moderator. It may seem ridiculous, but a moderator can make or break an event. They have to manage the expectations of the presenters, event coordinators, and audience members. Their timing has to be impeccable. Their energy has to be contagious. And on top of that, it’s really good if the moderator can have fun at the same time. Sometimes it can seem that nobody could rise to such a herculean task, but the good news is that there are a few easy ways to become a natural host when you’re trying to find one for your special event.
They know the lay of the land. It’s important to find someone who is knowledgeable as possible about all the subjects that will be presented at the event. They need to be able to ask decent questions of the speakers, keep the presenters to a schedule and be able to connect the concepts between different presentations. The moderator should be able to do all of this without taking some of the shine away from the actual guests and presenters.
They’re a people person. It’s important that your moderator is willing to learn the bios of the people at the event. Make sure they are doing their due diligence when it comes to scoping out each presenter’s LinkedIn. A quick Google search can tell them about professional accomplishments as well as fun facts about hobbies and interests. These human interest details will really liven up an audience. And when research fails, you need to find a moderator who is willing to call up a source and ask questions about them to fill out their profile.
Listen. Listen. Listen. Your moderator needs to be alert all throughout the event in case someone introduces an interesting idea or takes an unexpected turn during their presentation. These are great things that could make for great questions later. But only if the moderator is truly listening and paying attention. Audience members will feel more engaged if they understand that the person running the show is listening closely just as they are.
Cater to the audience. How are people taking in or reacting to what they are listening to. Do they seem down and distracted? Or do they seem to be brimming with interest and curiosity? This is yet another job for the moderator. They need to be completely tuned in to the audiences’ needs. After a lackluster presentation, they need to be able to reset the room and bring the energy up again. After a show stopping speech, the moderator should be able to harness that positivity and direct it toward the next item on the itinerary.
It may seem difficult at first, but great event moderators do exist and they are perfect additions to any event you may be prepping for. Just keep these tips and mind and remember that fun and good times are what matters at the end of the day.