A short while ago we offered some Tips For Managing the Start Of A Virtual Meeting. That article provided some practical guidance on ways to ensure that participants know that they’ve joined the right event, and are kept informed as await the start of the meeting.
If the host is deeply engaged in chairing the meeting or giving the presentation, they may not also be able to act as moderator, assisting participants with the mechanics of the conference. It may be beyond what one person can manage without impacting the flow of the meeting.
In such cases, the conference organizer may benefit from assigning one or more additional hosts to act as moderators. The moderators can help manage the conference, providing assistance to participants as needed, freeing the organizer to focus on the meeting itself.
Host vs Moderator
Within ZipDX a Host has access to tools to manage the event in-progress. While a moderator has Host rights, they primarily play a supporting role. They are very much like the operator in a traditional operator-handled conference.
They assist participants who are having trouble of any sort, without taking part in the call. Being at arms-length from the conversation gives them the freedom to help others participate effectively.
There are many thanks that a moderator may need to do. The may be called upon to assist participants who have difficulty connecting. Or assist in reconnecting someone who gets disconnected. They may also be asked to help someone view WebShared content.
Even if the participants don’t need assistance, the moderator monitors the event to ensure that it’s free from unnecessary distractions or interruptions.
To be effective, the moderator needs access to the conference dashboard and some familiarity with its use.
Assigning Hosts In Advance
The conference organizer can grant host privileges to anyone they need to act as moderators. Additional hosts can be assigned in advance, when the conference is scheduled. The conference organizer invites them to the call using their email address, assigning them the role of host.
The conference invitation emailed to them includes a link to access the web portal, which gives them access to the conference dashboard.
In assembling a team to moderate a large event the conference organizer should ensure that everyone is familiar with the conference dashboard. It’s a good idea to have a training call in advance of the event. This gives the team a chance to get hands-on experience using the dashboard in a guided manner.
Assigning Host Rights On-The-Fly
As a rule, we recommend that you choose your team of moderators in advance, inviting them to the conference as described above.
That said, in a pinch it is possible for a host to promote any other conference participant to host in a more ad hoc manner via the dashboard. Simply click on their name to reveal the pop-up menu of options, then click on the Make Host option as pictured below.
You would only do this is you were confident that the participant already had experience using the conference dashboard. Also, that they were at a computer, able to access the dashboard, and able to provide assistance at that very moment.
When planning for a major event you should consider who might help with moderation. If they’re not familiar with the use of the conference dashboard they will need to be briefed to ensure that they are ready and able to help.
The best way to train moderators is to have a conference expressly for that purpose. When scheduling that conference assign them the role of Host. During the training call they should log into the web portal and access the conference dashboard. This will give them some hands-on experience with the most common functions.
Whether your virtual event is a board meeting, webinar or multilingual gathering of foreign dignitaries, moderation is key to delivering the optimal participant experience. If you as the conference organizer are going to be busy with the presentation, consider adding someone to help ensure the event runs smoothly.
Call it the team approach. After all, there’s no “I” in team or conference.
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