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How to Be a Great Panel Moderator

September 2, 2011  

Got your social strategy off the ground? Want to draw more attention to it? Consider increasing your business's profile at an industry conference. Even if you aren't ready to keynote, you might consider getting your feet wet as a panel moderator.

A moderator hosts a panel of experts, asks leading questions and sets the context for discussion. It is a low-maintenance but strategically important position. Jeff Sass has written a piece on what makes a moderator great. His tips (partly gleaned from Jeremiah Owyang and Guy Kawasaki):

Talk as little as possible. Keep in mind that this isn't about you; your audience needs you to extract "insights of value," surrounding a theme, from the experts. Think of your role as an offline community manager.


Meet with panelists prior to the discussion. Meet with panelists at least 15 minutes before the event to ensure everyone is clear about the structure of the discussion—and to double-check that you have their names and titles straight.

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