A few tips for the Moderators

It’s about two weeks left to the convention, and we recommend all panel moderators to get in touch with their panelists.
You’ll find their information in PlanZ, where you can also see if anyone new has been added to the panel since we emailed out the preliminary schedule two weeks ago.

Please make sure to log on and approve your panels!!

In a Swedish Facebook group dedicated to fandom, there was a discussion thread about rules of thumb and good tips and trips for moderators, especially first timers. On recommendation, we’ve gathered some of them here:

  1. Approximately two (2) weeks prior to the convention (or perhaps during this upcoming weekend), it’s good that a Moderator contacts all their panelists and introduces themselves. Share some thoughts and questions in regards to what you find interesting within the subject matter at had, as to give the panelists an idea about the direction, focus and tone of the panel. Ask them if they have any specific themes and aspects of the subject they would like to discuss.

  2. Book a meeting! About an hour or two prior to the panel, we recommend that you meet up for a small chatt in the Green Room (downstairs in Café Alma). You’ll get to say hi and ask about important but basic info (like how their names are correctly pronounced, what pronouns they use, if they prefer a headset or a hand-held mic for convenience etc). Remind them all to use the mics, and that audience questions are saved for the end of the panel.

  3. Before the panel starts, try to make sure to set an alarm (silent!) and make sure you know where the gopher is (if they are to stay in the room. This is to make sure you can sometimes through a glance in their general direction and see if they are holding up signs indicating how much time there’s left (10min, 5min, STOP).

  4. Greet the audience! Remind everyone that all audience questions are saved for the end of the panel. Introduce yourself briefly, and then ask the panelists to also introduce themselves shortly (20sec is enough).

  5. In a panel with many panelists, the moderator shouldn’t take up a lot of time and space. Though your personal anecdote might even be hilarious, this is not the best time for it. Also, not everyone has to answer every question! You can ask different panelists about their thoughts and input, or just lay the question out there and see who picks it up. Avoid letting panelists answer in the order they are sitting, this leads to a great inbalance in amount of speaker time.

  6. And as an opposite to this, a panel with very few panelists is more of a conversation. If there’s only three of you, including the moderator, this is a great opportunity to participate a bit more, perhaps share some own thoughts on the subject (but remember, you are still a moderator, and are supposed to give others room to talk!).

  7. Have an extra question or so left, just in case the conversation dies out a bit early. Don’t worry if there’s a bit of silence, sometimes people want to mull over a question for a bit!
    But if you feel like the conversation has truly died down and you have no additional questions left, open up to audience questions. It’s OK if this happens after 25 minutes instead of say 35.

  8. Make sure the audience member waits for a mic before they ask questions! The gopher will try and get around the room as quickly as they can, there is no rush. Also, if unsure of what the question entailed, or if you’re unsure of if everyone heard them – repeat the question before turning to the panelist.

Good luck, and enjoy yourselves! And to the first timers – you’ll do just fine. We were all shiny and new once after all.
Exhibit A: Me, moderating my first ever panel, sick to my stomach with nerves. Who can tell? No one! I look like I’m about to unleash my greatest displeasure on Johan if he gets the answer wrong.

One thought on “A few tips for the Moderators

  1. Pingback: The Program! | Konflikt

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