Conferences, masterclasses, and roundtable discussions are exciting opportunities to learn from peers — and moderation plays a significant role in their success. If done correctly, guests are more likely to ease into conversations, stay engaged, and share ideas, setting the stage for post-event networking. An experienced moderator will often deliver a relaxed but professional atmosphere, where experts and enthusiasts alike can make the most of their experience.
Getting started to moderate any roundtable event
Share your experiences in relation to the topic. Is this something that you are passionate about? Give a brief description of the research that you have done, if any. Tell the audience how you came to join the event and what you hope to achieve by attending.
Introduce the topic
Briefly introduce the topic. Give your audience some quick context as to why it is relevant and how they will benefit from discussing it. Introducing the topic gives guests time to think about what questions they can and should ask once the floor is open.
Lead with a question
One of the best features of an Ortus event is a unique set of engagement questions guests received prior to the discussion. They help lead into the roundtable itself, directing the group discussion and creating an engaging atmosphere for everyone to participate.
Engagement is key to participation
Make it personal
Experienced Ortus moderators suggest two things: break the ice with a thought-provoking question, or prepare a list of anecdotal pieces that are easily relatable to the discussion. However, you do not want to stop there. Use it as an opportunity to kickstart the conversation.
Get everyone to participate
As the moderator, you should be doing the least amount of talking. Give your guests as many chances as possible to speak. Conduct research beforehand on who will be participating to identify how they can connect to the topic and draw unique insights.
Move around the room
Moderators must remember that the entire room is their stage. When speaking at a venue, maintain eye contact and make the most of the space available. A quick check-in can do a world of wonder, especially with large audiences who may need more help staying engaged.
Wrapping up the roundtable discussion
Summarise the program
Interject gracefully when you find an opportunity to conclude the event. There are many ways to do this, and here are some questions you can pose to get final remarks from the group:
- What is your main takeaway from this discussion?
- What will you do differently when you return to your team?
- What is the number one tip you would like to share to help others?
Finally, thank the guests for attending, and give them something to look forward to. After every Ortus event, guests are tagged on social media (with permission, of course). The best photos are uploaded, and they are highly encouraged to share any and all material. Special thank-you messages are also given to moderators, the venue, and hosts for making everything possible.
Check out our best tips to host a successful virtual roundtable session!
We have a team of partner moderators to help make Ortus events possible. Interested to try? Become a moderator today.