While the role of panel moderator is fairly well documented and respected activity the "whole day moderator" at a conference tends to be seen as a mix between a water-boy and a linkedin profile reader.
Refusing to be either of them, I gave go at putting the job in the spotlight it deserves, by listing the duties of he moderator:
- Keep a straight line: Every event sometimes feels like a hazardous stumbling walk through presentations of various flavors, styles and topics. That's why the moderator helps connect the dots to give the event a sense of completeness and cohesion.
- Be a good companion: It's always annoying to see a good mate's best story wasted because the audience is left asleep by a lunch, scattered by a break, dreaming from a presentation or simply muted in the expectation of the closing beers. This is where the moderator jumps in to prepare the crowd for the speaker's good words, cracking a joke or a WIP to get the attention and focus.
- Don't let'em abuse the good stuff: A speaker enjoying the sound of his own voice a bit too much? That's where time the good samaritan steps in and gently takes the mike away to make sure the party goes on happily.
- Get'em out of the gutter: Every now and then a speakers hits a bad day... when the speech just does not seem to flow well, the tongue is a bit too heavy,. And that's when the good moderator comes in with questions that will make the whole presentation sound like a Steve Jobs keynote.
Now who would dare say that moderation is just monkey business?
If you want a chance to pitch or code for fame this will be followed by a Dragon's Den and a workshop ran by Intel and will surely all end in pizza and beer.
And for somewhat different exercise in moderation I will be in Amsterdam for SEE if you want to join!