That’s right. The key to being the best moderator you can be is to earn the trust of both the panelists and the audience. Without trust there is no relationship and without a relationship, it’s hard to keep people’s attention and drive home a point.
Show The Panelists You Care
You all know how much this saying means to me, I have a whole campaign around it! But this slogan is perfect when it comes to moderating.
One of the biggest things that set me apart from other moderators is that I ask each panelist for two points that they want to drive home during the panel. By asking each of the panelists what they are looking to get out of their stage time, I am showing them that I am concerned about their goals.
Then I follow up by telling the panelists that my goal for the session is to make them look good, get their point across and ensure the audience gets what they want/need. Lastly, the day of, I ask if there are any subjects that are off of the table.
Get In Touch With The Audience
Let’s be honest, the panel is for the audience, so it is your job as the moderator to make sure the audience gets what they need. There are a few places you can look for this information:
The Title and Description of the panel (if you didn’t write it)
The “about” section of the conference
The chats happening around the event
TALK TO THE AUDIENCE
As a moderator, you are the liaison between the audience and the panel!
The last one is my favorite, I generally try to connect with the audience one way or another before my session. This allows me to ensure I get the information out of the panelists that the audience is looking to get.
Anytime I got to interact with other conference-goers at Social Shake Up 2019, I was sure to ask them what they thought about influencers, what they would ask an influencer if they got the chance and what they wanted to get out of the conference. I kept all of this information in mind when I moderated a panel with 6 influencers later in the conference.
Use Your Trust For Good
The goal I have as a moderator is to make the organizer feel like they hit a home run with their panel choices. I also want panelists to tell me that conversation came easily and they got to say what they wanted to.
As a moderator, you are the liaison between the audience and the panel. Once you have the trust of both parties, you can make amazing things happen for both sides.
Knowing the wants and needs of both parties allows you the power to know when a panelist has insight that will blow the audience’s mind or when the audience isn’t getting what they need out of a session.
The trust you’ve gained will allow you to direct and redirect conversations that are beneficial to all parties and at the end of the day, that should be what you are working towards.
Editor’s Note on Feb 13, 2020, : This post was originally posted on May 3rd, 2019 but since surveyed bureau’s, speakers and visitors to my speaker website on what they liked and didn’t like and I monitored the traffic closely. I’ve included some notes and lessons I’ve learned over this last year at the bottom of this blog post that I believe will add a lot of context to this post and why I made such big changes. With that being said I migrated to a different platform and theme to leverage these lessons but interestingly enough I leverage almost all of the lessons included in this blog post I just tightened up my blog copy, my SEO focus and like most things, I’m always tweaking long after I press the damn button.
I proudly launched this site on May 1st, 2019, after many months of research and design. Although I’ve had a speaker landing page within my blog site iSocialFanz.com it always felt forced and too busy as I planned the launch of the next phase of my speaker business, which included announcing that I signed with Michelle Joyce Speaker Agency. I knew I would need a website dedicated only to my public speaking business.
On top of speaking full-time, I’m also a daily content creator, and I knew this site would need to be different from past websites I’ve created. It would need to have more of a niche focus towards speaker bureaus, event planners, and associations looking to hire speakers rather than fans of my content.
With this as my goal, I set out to review 100+ professional speaker websites with three areas of focus:
Video without compromising speed.
So with all this in mind I set out six months ago to review 100+ “professional speaker” websites looking for common themes, things I liked, things I didn’t like. I planned on narrowing it down to 5 or 6 websites that I could use as inspiration for my site but settled at 10.
In full transparency, I’m friends with most of these speakers, but that didn’t influence this list. For me, I focused on speakers that came up well in search, had an excellent reputation amongst my peers, those that I want to share the stage with, and speakers most commonly found on speaker bureau websites.
After all my website reviewing was complete, I was amazed at how many common themes existed amongst the sites that I liked the most.
Here are a few of those universal themes that you’ll notice in the examples below:
Video element at top of the homepage
Bold use of colors
Dynamic bright photos
Infinite scroll telling a story as you scroll
Speaking is the primary focus with other products or services tilted towards event planner
Strong statements with strong branding across every page
All but 1 URL was firstname+lastname (Andrew Davis too common + akaDrewDavis)
In no particular order here are the 10 sites I used as inspiration to launch this speaker site:
Besides the obvious of him being a mentor, in the same speaker agency, and using the same platform, his site hits a homerun when it comes to my three areas of focus. I especially like how each page allows the user to select to watch a video, but the video isn’t loading as an embed, therefore not sacrificing page speed.
The only thing more dynamic & fun than Mike’s website is his style and designer hair. Mike’s crisp use of photos and color contrast screams FUN! While his use of white space and testimonials makes the site feel very professional and insightful
This website gave me my most favorable first impression. Clint’s website is bold thanks to his excellent use of video, clean photos, and an eye-popping contact form design. And it’s no wonder he focused on speaker video has he also has the coolest speaker reel I’ve ever seen!
Kindra is a master storyteller, and her site screams storytelling with bold colors, great use of fonts, and video in many places but not too much video footage. I love the simplicity as each page has a clear purpose and value for her speaker brand.
Professional, simple, and creative as Phil does a fantastic job of using bold colors and bright photos to align with his branding. I also love how he presents his books using the contrast of colors with the three books covers, making them jump off the screen.
She does everything, and her site has everything, but it doesn’t feel busy as the infinite scroll tells a bold story. The site highlights her tv show, her books, her podcasts, and many other products, but it’s clean and dynamic, so it doesn’t feel overwhelming yet covers everything!
Many refer to her Erin as my twin as we are both passionate, loud, and fun, and her website represents that and more. I love her video across the top with the site navigation overlay on the video as it’s bold yet done with a simple, clean format.
Andrew is the best speaker I’ve ever seen on stage and I’m thankful to call him a friend and mentor. As for his website, I love how simple the navigation is, and he does a great job of sharing his accomplishments with pictures but in a fun storytelling way. Drew brings you along on his journey rather than throwing his awesomeness in your face.
This pint-sized fun Aussie is a close friend of mine, and for every ounce of fun, she has a matching ounce of elegance on and off stage. Her use of whitespace combined with the gold branding and clean edge to edge videos have her site capturing your “attention” while also giving you a sense of luxury love.
The author of Iconic has a site that screams experience and wisdom, combined with bold, dynamic photos and graphics. As you scroll, you can almost hear and feel Scott’s iconic voice and stage presence.
One last lesson I’ve learned in this process of running one company website for 10 years then attempting to separate part of my business to another website is that you won’t know what works till you go live and you have to be willing to separate the content and traffic focus within everything you post. A couple of other things I’ve learned since I wrote this blog post in 2019 that I feel everyone can learn from in 2020 are below.
What to remember when creating your Keynote Speaker Website:
there are many things to factor in with video including how it looks on mobile, the load time if you embed too many videos, value of linking to YouTube vs hosting the video on your own website and wherein the event professional journey in learning about you do you want them to experience your video.
Be Yourself but
Make sure the event professional or speaker bureau agent that is visiting your site has a chance to get to know who you are and your first impression doesn’t send them running or the colors of the fonts you use are too hard to read making them give up before they get to know your favorite colors.
I loved the idea of having a calendar of events I’m speaking at on my website but so much changes in the speaker world and updating your calendar to remove events you didn’t speak at or events in the past is never top on the list. There’s nothing worse than seeing a website with “Top 2019 keynote programs” in 2020 or a list of upcoming events that’s 3 months old. I decided it’s better to discuss events from prior years but avoid dated references the best I can.
Testimonials are great but
When I first launched this website I got excited and put lots of testimonial quotes on every page within each speaker program and some of the feedback I received was after the second or third testimonial we move on and if testimonials aren’t directly related to the program or speaker landing page it provides more hesitation than validation.
Speaker SEO and Google Ads are the wild wild west but
If you dive into SEO and Google Ads with keynote speakers you’ll notice how many are targetting ads against industry leaders, common keywords and even highjacking misspelled search of celebrity speakers. I’m a data geek and track my website traffic and content keywords using tools Buzzsumo, SEMrush and Moz.com and I can tell you the thing I’ve learned the most is focus on what you want to be known for and how you want to be discovered because if you worry about how your competition is targetting search and advertising there’s a good chance you’ll go down a dark hole.
The journey to be becoming a professional public speaker seems to be as unique as every speaker’s wardrobe. Which makes the industry exciting while also making it confusing and difficult to break in and get noticed.
For me, I have the unique opportunity to dive into keynote speaking with 3 different experiences since I began speaking in 2007.
Representing the Department of Defense Certified
Technology Evangelist for a technology company sponsoring events
On this episode of FOMOFanz I breakdown what I’ve learned about being a professional keynote speaker from my days working for the Department of Defense to being a brand speaker and now as an entrepreneur and full time professional speaker.