A good moderator is well prepared, has a set of questions in mind for each panelist, and has a good idea of how each panelist will respond to each question. And then the discussion starts and things get interesting. Someone says something that wasn’t expected. They allude to an opinion that doesn’t fit what is usually expected of them, or to a decision that was a mistake. That’s why a moderator’s most important job is to be in the moment and listen — even while thinking about time limitations, who hasn’t gotten to speak yet, and topics that have to be addressed.
Listen for that surprising moment, and follow up on it.
Can a dialogue on one of the most controversial issues in American policy — illegal immigration — be passionate, and smart, and civil? The brilliant Jeff Greenfield of CBS News moderated a dialogue at the National Constitution Center that proved it can be done. You can watch it in full here.
I produced this discussion for the Peter Jennings Project, an organization dedicated to helping current and future journalists understand constitutional issues more deeply. It was especially meaningful to me because I produced a dialogue moderated by Peter Jennings in 1999. Continue reading →
From the Batten Institute on entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business comes this great explanation of storytelling as a business tool. It’s from the Design@Darden Initiative. I’ve been preaching much the same message on the power of storytelling to generate connections and insights, and it’s good to see the concept promoted at this great business school.
The first two commandments of moderating are here, the third here, and the fourth here. I started out without much concern on the order of these pieces of advice, but the list seems to be developing a structure: The first two commandments are the most basic. They’ve been followed by three on formulating questions. After that, we’ll have a couple on preparation and directing traffic, followed by the most important commandment of all. Now for the last piece of advice on questions: Continue reading →
The first two commandments of moderating are here, and the third here. Next up:
4. Create Conversations — As I have ranted about before, far too often the label “panel discussion” is a misnomer: The event instead is a set of presentations followed by a series of questions from the moderator to each panelist. The good news is, this creates a great opportunity for you: If you can actually get panelists talking to each other — to actually have a discussion at your “panel discussion” — both panelists and audience will be very pleasantly surprised. You’ll see smiles and greater engagement all around. Here are several ways to make it happen: Continue reading →
Not long ago I posted my top five Don’ts when creating a panel discussion. It was intended for anyone putting together a panel event. Now let’s focus in on moderating. Here, the first two of the Ten Commandments of Moderating. These are the most basic of basics (but even so, you’ve probably suffered through more than one panel that broke these rules): Continue reading →
Yesterday I had the privilege of hearing Coach Dick Vermeil (nominated just two days ago to the Pro Football Hall of Fame) speak on leadership at a wonderful NHS Foundation event in Philadelphia. I want to share one of his great observations. It could be be the key to meaningful employee development at your organization: Continue reading →
Like the sound of yawns? Of people fidgeting in seats and checking email during your event? Of audience members complaining about your panel afterward? Then follow these steps — any one of them can do the trick: Continue reading →
Joan Greco has been creating compelling discussion programs for over 25 years, beginning her career while an editor at the Harvard Law Review. Her work has been featured on PBS, won awards, and garnered critical praise. Click here to learn more.
Services range from providing crucial support to an existing project, to conceiving and producing a program from start to finish. Click here to learn more.