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Do you frequently work as a webinar moderator? Or are you planning to start your first time as a moderator in a webinar? Follow these 8 practical tips from our project manager Pascal Langen on how to be a good webinar moderator.

How to be a good moderator

A moderator plays an ever important role prior and during a webinar. One of the most important tasks for a webinar moderator is managing the chat and being the first to see the incoming questions. You’ll have to decide if you can answer the questions yourself right away or if you need to forward them to the webinar presenter. Another task is making sure all participants have the correct instructions for attending the webinar and as a moderator you’ll have to make sure the presenter of the webinar is ready to go. The role of a moderator is multifaceted so Pascal has come up with these 8 practical tips for webinar moderation.

1. Prepare yourself to be a successful webinar moderator

Preparation is key when you are planning to moderate a webinar. You don’t want to rush things when a webinar is about to start. Pascal: ‘We always send an email to all webinar participants 24 hours prior to a webinar with the latest instructions and a manual. For instance, you have to make sure the webinar participants have all the needed software installed.”

Pascal always recommends having one webinar moderator for every 50 participants. “At Online Seminar our full service webinars always include a technical moderator, who helps with all practical matters such as when a participant’s connection is not working properly.” 

With our self service webinar software a dedicated technical moderator is never required though.

2. Login on time and check in with webinar presenters before the event

Nothing is more annoying than a webinar which has already started while you are still starting up your computer. Pascal: “as a webinar moderator, you have an important role because all the questions come to you first. So make sure you are ready on time. I always advise moderators to log in half an hour in advance. If there is something wrong with your computer, you’ll have plenty of time to fix it. This way you don’t get any stress.”

“And make sure you and the webinar presenter are aligned before the webinar starts. Share some useful information together and your role is to make the presenter at ease. You can share some background info on participants, the anticipated length of the webinar and whether participants have already submitted questions ahead of time.”

3. Write a welcome message at the start of the webinar

“Make sure that at least one webinar moderator sends a welcome message to all participants at the start of the webinar. Participants often need to be persuaded to actively participate. A welcome message works wonders.”

Another way to get the participants actively involved is to launch one or more polls at the start and during the webinar.

4. Make a list of answers from questions you can expect

“Are there any obvious questions you can expect? Then write your answers down in advance. It takes some extra time to formulate them concisely; answers in the chat need to be a lot shorter than in an email. This saves you a lot of time during the webinar so you can focus on other tasks. During popular and demanding webinars this is no unnecessary luxury.”

5. Make your answers personal

‘By greeting someone personally, you make them feel comfortable. If, for example, Mark asks a question, start the answer with “Dear Mark”. Always end a message by saying goodbye and then give your own name.’

6. Forward questions to the webinar presenter if there is time to answer them

Pascal says: “It makes a webinar much more interactive when the presenter answers live questions. When there is an opportunity, we always recommend answering relevant questions during a webinar”. Of course, not every question lends itself to being picked up during the webinar. “If it is something technical, or if the question has already been asked, you deal with it behind the scenes. Usually at the end of a webinar there is a quarter of an hour to answer questions anyway.”

7. Be honest if you don’t know the answer

Webinar participants always expect to get an answer quickly. So respond as soon as possible. Sometimes you don’t know the answer yourself, or it takes a bit longer to respond as you would like to. tell them honestly that you have to figure it out and that you will come back to it, preferable within the timeframe of the webinar. Otherwise suggest responding to their message after the webinar. Don’t ignore a difficult question, that can be annoying for the person who asks it.”

8. Prepare some questions

Another tip to prepare yourself to be a successful webinar moderator is to have ample knowledge of the subject matter so you can answer questions in depth. It prepares you for the likely incoming questions so you can answer them quickly during the webinar itself. The webinar presenter has probably created a script by which he or she presents the content of the webinar. Make sure you’ll have a copy of the webinar script so you can prepare yourself for possible incoming questions.

“Sometimes no questions come in, which can kill the interaction during a webinar. Therefore, I always advise you to prepare some questions yourself, just to be sure. You can drop these in when appropriate and this often stimulates participants to ask a question themselves.”

If you follow these simple steps you can create an amazing engaging webinar on the Online Seminar Self Service platform. So why don’t you give it a try.