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Are you going to work as a moderator for a webinar? Are you doing it for the first time or do you want to get even better? These are 8 practical tips from our project manager Pascal Langen to get you started.

A moderator plays an important role during the webinar. Your task is to manage the chat and be the first to see the questions coming in. Then you answer the questions and estimate what to do with them. For example, forwarding them to the presenter who can then answer them directly. With these 8 tips you make it a lot easier for yourself as a moderator.

1. Prepare yourself

Pascal: ‘We always send an e-mail to all moderators 24 hours prior to the webinar with the latest instructions and a manual. Sometimes, for example, moderators have to install additional software. Then it’s best if you do that well in advance of the webinar. It’s also a good idea to know the content of the presentation, so you can quickly answer questions during the webinar.’ Pascal always recommends having 1 moderator for every 50 participants. There is a maximum of about 10 moderators. ‘We sometimes have webinars with 1000 participants. Then 20 moderators are not needed.’ 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.

2. Login on time

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

3. Write a welcome message

‘Make sure that at least one moderator sends a welcome message to all participants at the start of the webinar. We’ll also send a message that we’ll make sure to answer all technical questions. Participants often need to be persuaded to actively participate. A welcome message works wonders.’

4. Make a list of answers

‘Are there any questions you can expect? Then write down all the answers in advance. It takes some extra time to prepare, but it certainly pays off. You also have the time to formulate them concisely; answers in the chat can be a lot shorter than in a regular mail. This makes it much quieter for you during the webinar.’ Online Seminar has the possibility to put all answers in a specific list of answers. This allows you to answer questions much faster. ‘During popular 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 speaker if there is time and space to answer them

‘It makes a webinar much more interactive when the presenter answers live questions. When there is time and space, we always recommend answering relevant questions during the 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 the webinar there is a quarter of an hour to answer questions anyway.’

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

‘Participants always like to get an answer as soon as possible. So, respond as quickly as possible. Sometimes you don’t know the answer yourself, or it takes a long time to answer. Tell them honestly that you have to figure it out and that you will come back to it, of course preferably as soon as possible. Don’t ignore a difficult question, that’s annoying for the person who asks it.’

8. Prepare some questions

‘Sometimes no questions come in, which is a pity for the interaction during the webinar. Therefore, I always advise to prepare some questions just to be sure. For example, the presenter can say: “We regularly get questions about…”, after which he tells what kind of questions they are. In this way you often persuade participants to ask a question.’