Geniecast Blog

Emcee or Moderator – Critical Roles for Successful Virtual or Hybrid Meetings

Just like the orchestra needs a conductor, every meeting or conference needs someone to lead. Whether virtual, hybrid or in-person, your event will be more successful with the right people in the right places.

Recognizing the value in an event moderator results in more successful event results and reviews than those events left to run on chance. At Geniecast we see a direct correlation between improved client satisfaction rates and the use of a professional third-party moderator for complex virtual events.

The tone and dynamic of a virtual or hybrid event changes when you upgrade from your internal hosts. Based on input from several professionals in the space, the addition of a third-party moderator transforms an event from meh to something worth talking about.

What is the difference between an emcee (MC) and a moderator?

An emcee is a host, many we asked/prefer we write MC over emcee. Often entertainers, MCs crack a joke, warm up the audience and make introductions. A moderator introduces guests like an emcee, but the role is broader. According to the Center for Association Leadership in a recent blog, “without a skilled moderator who knows the subject matter and has the tact and confidence to manage a discussion, panel sessions can quickly run off the rails.”

The virtual or hybrid event moderator facilitates the conversation and keeps the audience engaged – critical for virtual audiences that can get distracted easily. A good moderator takes notes, introduces polls, manages the chat room feature and interjects audience feedback into the event. A good moderator can deftly interject questions or otherwise prompt a speaker if necessary.

In addition, a professional moderator manages the event’s timing and prompts a speaker when it’s time for Q & A. How many cringe-worthy silences have we all sat through with no one wanting to be the first to ask a question?

Keeping an audience engaged is the responsibility of the talent or speaker at a virtual event, but when coupled with the right professional moderator, events move seamlessly, and audience engagement increases.

Like an emcee (MC), it is important that a moderator use humor effectively. In addition to having a more intense and specialized skill set.

Top five skills to look for in a virtual or hybrid moderator.

  1. The ability to manage C-level speakers and top-tier talent.
  2. Possesses a sixth sense of audience engagement and can offer encouragement to the speaker.
  3. Fully understands the power of the chat feature and how to use it to keep events engaging by interspersing questions and comments into the event.
  4. Has event experience and can keep things on pace. The ideal moderator professionally addresses issues and keeps the speaker(s) from spiraling.
  5. Knows how to get audience participation and suggests devices in advance to keep the event flowing. For example, offer a free book or gift card to the first person to use the chat feature or ask a question.

There is a time and place for an emcee (MC) and for virtual events to truly resonate, arranging for a professional moderator is a great way to start. A talented moderator is constantly linking ideas and issues from the event in a way that people will remember.

Geniecast, the virtual experience company, has a team of experienced and professional moderators who would love to facilitate your next event.

Click here to learn more about how we can improve your virtual experiences and events.

Meet the Author

Amy Hirner

Amy Hirner

Senior Client Experience

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