The Role of the Webinar Moderator
Webinar hosting has firmly established its foothold as a viable promotional tool in any company’s specific marketing mix. Webinars, especially when hosted with a webinar moderator, allow businesses of every size the chance to engage with their targeted demographic on a simultaneous, global level, with remarkable results.
The interactive nature of webinars affords organizations an unparalleled opportunity to generate dialogue with interested prospects and develop sustainable industry partnerships, all while giving the consuming masses the chance to put a name, face, and voice to any hosting business. Few other resources allow brands to both promote and personalize in such a tangible, scalable way.
Benefits Of Utilizing a Webinar Moderator
Due to the comprehensive range of potential advantages, corporate leaders recognize it’s critical to optimize efforts and execution during every webinar.
Enter in the webinar moderator.
A webinar moderator helps mediate a live conference in a wide range of ways. Unfortunately, the role of webinar moderator is often underestimated. Many assume it’s simply completing a behind-the-scene checklist that requires little more than rote response; a technical support person who merely clicks buttons, grants permissions, and confirms everyone can log in at the appropriate time. These business owners believe if they have the technology down cold, they have no use for a second-in-command during their webinar.
Others misjudge the sheer amount of work that goes into creating a captivating, compelling live webinar. They enter into the process believing they can shoulder all of the many responsibilities on their own, only to discover (often too late) sharing the workload can yield a comprehensive range of benefits.
Veteran webinar hosts recognize an effective webinar moderator manages a slew of tasks and operations that require strategic thinking, planning, and preparation, making it in invaluable component to any successful live session. Using a webinar moderator for assistance during any video session can help business owners attain the many advantages offered from just a single live webinar. During any given video conferencing session, the webinar moderator will coordinate responsibilities including:
- Audience welcome message
- Agenda outline
- Discuss relevant session protocol
- Speaker introductions
- Permissions for shared information
- Track inquiries in chat windows
- Administrate Q&A sessions
- Manage unexpected system glitches
- Close out conference
These are just some of the many responsibilities potentially performed by a webinar moderator during a live conference. Due to web conferencing’s immense popularity, the webinar moderator role will likely continue to evolve, further emphasizing the importance of having a secondary point person to ensure any function proceeds as smoothly as possible.
Tips To Bring Your Moderator A-Game
In order to ensure you are an efficient webinar moderator, it’s important to understand some critical steps to success. Following just a few simple tips can keep you focused on your obligations and guarantee the session maximizes audience participation and overall return on investment.
#1: Understand The Host’s Goals and Objectives
The first step in webinar moderator victory is gaining a firm grasp of what the actual host hopes to accomplish. Don’t simply assume you already understand the desired outcome for any given assembly. In order to fully support the company or person running the webinar, you should meet with the principal presenters to familiarize yourself with their top goals and objectives. You will want to know what the point of the session is, the targeted demographic they hope to reach, and what results they want to achieve.
You will also want to gain insight on the presenter’s specific voice. Everyone has her own presentation style and tone. In order to successfully support the webinar, you will need to pinpoint the individual’s/company’s approach to live webinars. Is the vibe laid-back and casual? More polished and professional? Somewhere in between? Recognizing style can play a key role in ensuring stay on brand throughout the meeting for a seamless transition between you and your co-host.
Beyond familiarizing yourself with your co-host’s voice and pace, you should also ask to review any current marketing materials used by the business. Websites, press releases, blogs, and even printed resources can offer an expedient way to assess brand identity and further assure you align your support services with existing corporate language and overall delivery tone.
#2: Find Your Voice
While understanding the client’s professional voice is critical, it’s also important to find your own delivery style and tone as well. Blandly reciting your piece with no personality is a surefire way to give listeners permission to tune out. As webinar moderator, your primary mission is to make the session proceeds as smoothly as possible. A welcoming and engaging delivery can play a key role achieving a seamless conference from start to finish.
Additionally, keep in mind that when you go live, unforeseen mishaps will inevitably occur; things such as schedule incongruences, slides placed in the wrong order, presenters missing their queue, technical difficulties and other unexpected events can quickly fluster even the most polished announcer. Your job as webinar moderator is to effortlessly connect with the listeners and redirect as needed should things get off track. Knowing your specific voice can help you do whatever is needed with poise, personality and confidence to keep the session progressing.
#3: Identify Host Expectations
Beyond an understanding of host goals, you will also want to discuss what the lead presenter will expect from you throughout the webinar.
The role of monitor is fluid; sometimes it may be strictly behind-the-scenes, reactive coordination. Other times, a presenter may want the webinar moderator to take the lead on certain segments and actually present to the audience. Schedule as many calls as necessary before the event to gain the insight you’ll need to provide optimal support and meet your host’s overall expectations.
#4: Identify Audience Expectations
A successful webinar moderator recognizes the importance of meeting audience expectations as well. It’s critical to gauge attendee interests before creating the slides and visual presentation. Work with the host to review any distributed marketing material and invites for the upcoming function. Familiarizing yourself with what’s being promoted and promised to participants can help you develop a plan to effectively highlight relevant details and deliver what everyone is expecting.
#5: Create An Agenda
Once you’ve discussed objectives and overall responsibilities, it’s time to create a webinar agenda. Putting together a summary before the conference will keep everyone on task with individual obligations as well as maintain focus throughout the preparation and strategizing.
When developing your agenda, go beyond outlining just the major talking points; utilize the power of listening points as well. Always allow extra time to include several strategically placed Q&A sessions throughout the presentation. It’s no secret that long webinars run the risk of losing listeners at various intervals. Permitting inquiries throughout the conference proves an excellent way to keep listeners tuned in and on their toes. Highlighting these more interactive segments can prevent their eyes (and ears) from glazing over and encourage them to participate and engage with all of the speakers during your event.
#6: Schedule Rehearsal(s)
Web conferencing can incorporate a diverse scope of technological components in any given session. Don’t assume your guest has mastered everything he or she will need to use of the course of the event (even if he insists he’s an experienced whiz at managing all the webinar features you will incorporate).
Schedule a dry run a few days before the live session to jointly determine everyone’s area of expertise. Use this time together to not only test the innovation but also go through the entire presentation as many times as needed. You will inevitably pinpoint weak spots in your exhibition or identify salient details that have been omitted entirely. These rehearsals will allow you to iron out any hiccups and smooth out rough patches before going live with your participants.
#7: Game Day Practice
Also, you will want to connect prior to going live on the actual day of the event. This will give you a final opportunity to go through your host’s presentation as well as run a last minute audiovisual test. No matter how many rehearsals you’ve had, you shouldn’t squander the chance to get everything set up before participants begin logging in.
It’s important to practice one final time just to confirm the technology being used is working the way it should; one malfunctioning microphone or a misaligned camera can quickly impact audience attention levels. Spending precious time identifying and trying to fix an issue once you’ve gone live can give your participants the authorization they need to tend to other pressing items on their agendas. Or, worse yet, it can instantly make you and your host seem unprepared and unprofessional.
#8: Attend Other Sessions To See What Works (And What Doesn’t)
As webinar popularity and marketing momentum continues to increase, the role of webinar moderator will continue to change, making it vital for co-hosts to consistently up their support game. Perhaps the best way to add maximum value during a webinar? Attend other events that utilize a webinar moderator as often as possible.
Every session brings with it its own unique voice, tone, and overall delivery. Participating in other meetings will grant you invaluable insight on new resources to use and different approaches to implement. Beyond learning what works in a webinar, you will also determine methods that don’t work. This knowledge of what to include and exclude can enhance the overall quality of your next session and ensure you always effectively fulfill your co-hosting responsibilities.
If you’d like to host your own amazing webinars, check out BigMarker. BigMarker helps you share meaningful content and build your brand with modern, user-friendly webinars. Sign up for a 14-day free trial today or send us a message to get in touch.