Gemma Milne is a tech and science journalist who hosts her own podcast show called Science Disrupt. Also, she often collaborates with events and conferences as a facilitator. We met her at Tech Retail Week 2017 in London where she quickly caught our attention thanks to the excellent and engaging panel discussions she hosted.
With her rich experience as a moderator, she says “a panel should make its audience think and plant new seeds in the listeners’ minds. This way, events can inspire people and give them a ‘how-to’ so when they go back to work the next morning, they have something to act upon.” 💪🏻
In this short interview, we’d love to share Gemma’s insights with you and help you prepare your moderators for your next panel discussion.
“As a moderator, I’m the audience’s proxy and the voice of the curious one.” opened Gemma.
There is no point in having a panel if it doesn’t answer the questions participants have so I always concentrate on three key things:
The research is key and therefore, I focus on two areas: panelists and topics.
Firstly, I try to understand the angle each panelist is going to take so researching their LinkedIn profiles, the company they work for or their activities gives me a solid background.
Secondly, there’s a story behind every topic so I always look into what is currently happening on the news. People can have various views on the topic, so the aim is to find different opinions and make the discussion interesting.
Finally, I schedule a short phone call with each of the panelists to get their viewpoint on the topic in advance so I can work with it later.
⭐️ It’s very important to give the audience the context. I always introduce the speakers as well as the topic at the very beginning.
⭐️ I let the audience know right at the start that we will get to the questions very quickly to make them part of the conversation. The participants feel welcome and empowered as I recognize that their voice matters.
⭐️ Using Slido allows me to incorporate the questions into the discussion as soon as the first one appears live on the screen. It gives me the sense of the direction people would like the conversation to go.
⭐️ The sooner I take the first question from Slido, the more questions I receive. As a result, people feel engaged and encouraged so they keep sending more and upvoting them, which is very helpful for me.
To keep the stress under control, I came up with little tactics that I’d sum up as the following:
Would you like to learn more about moderation? Let us know your questions in the comments section below or on Twitter @slidoapp.