​PowerSpeaking Blog: Tips and strategies for crafting presentations

8 Tips for Moderating a Panel Discussion

Since the start of this election cycle, we've all seen several debates between various party candidates leading to the current slate of Presidential and Vice Presidential debates.  One crucial figure that sometimes gets overlooked in these debates is the moderator.

Whether it is part of a debate or panel discussion, moderators ostensibly are tasked with overseeing and facilitating a conversation — without overtly contributing their opinion or being a central part of the dialogue. They ask questions, solicit audience feedback, keep an eye on how much time remains and try and keep the conversation balanced between all panelists and experts. They're essentially the ringmasters, keeping dialogue moving and emphasizing major points.

While this may seem like an easy task, the truth is that the moderator often has the hardest job on the panel. It requires strong listening and comprehension skills, patience, and focus. Here are a few tips to help when you take on the role of moderator in a panel discussion:

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Reading, Speaking, Conveying: The Art of the Teleprompter

No matter what your personal politics are, this most recent election cycle has shown a compelling spotlight on the ways that powerful political personalities communicate with the world. We have been treated to a variety of different approaches to speech-giving, debating and stumping and much has been made of the distinctions between the ways that some candidates convey ideas versus their opponents.

However, what all the candidates have in common is that, overwhelmingly, their speeches are aided by a teleprompter. A teleprompter frees speechmakers from relying on written notes or presentations in front of them, allowing them to face their audience directly and move naturally in the space they are given. This creates an intimacy and naturalism that can reinforce effective presentation skills and lend you vital credibility.

Yet with this freedom comes a variety of unexpected challenges.  Using a teleprompter is one of the more involved presentation tools that requires practice and consideration, which is why we've included a series of quick tips to help you master it.  

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