The Slice

FAQ: What Are The Roles of a Webinar Host and Moderator?

June 23, 2022

Webinar hosts and moderators have distinct and essential roles that can help your next webinar go smoothly. While it can be tempting to think that one person can perform both duties at the same time, having two separate people fill these roles can mean the difference between a chaotic event and one that goes swimmingly. Let's take a look at everything you need to know about the roles of a host and moderator in webinars. By getting a firm grasp on the responsibilities of each key player, you can make an informed decision about how best to set up your webinar team.

Whether you're planning a marketing webinar or one for your employees, you'll inevitably be confronted with a glaring question. Who's going to host? What does it take to host a webinar?

After you've done enough googling on that topic, you're probably left with a new quandary to chew on. Firstly, what the heck is a moderator? Secondly, do we really need one?

Webinar hosts and moderators have distinct and essential roles that can help your next webinar go smoothly. While it can be tempting to think that one person can perform both duties at the same time, having two separate people fill these roles can mean the difference between a chaotic event and one that goes swimmingly.

Let's take a look at everything you need to know about the roles of a host and moderator in webinars. By getting a firm grasp on the responsibilities of each key player, you can make an informed decision about how best to set up your webinar team.

What Is a Webinar Host?

A webinar host is the head honcho of your webinar– they're in charge of beginning and ending the webinar, leading live Q&As, and introducing speakers and panelists. They are the person that guides both the speakers and the audience through the webinar experience.

Without a host, a webinar can easily dissolve into chaos. That might sound like an exaggeration, but it's amazing what can happen when there isn't someone leading the whole shindig. You'll even sometimes hear hosts referred to as the "master of ceremony," as they will welcome the audience, present an outline of the agenda, and lead the presentation.

Depending on the webinar software that you're using, the host can also point out any applicable tabs such as polls, questions, or chat. They can help the audience understand how to use those features so that they can interact with the presenters.

Are you wondering how you can improve your webinar sign-up and attendance? Check out these twenty creative ideas to increase the size of your audience.

Who Should Be a Webinar Host?

It's common for a webinar host to be a brand representative. This host doesn't have to be the individual who did all the organizational work in setting up the webinar. For a webinar you are holding with clients or customers, you'll want to be thoughtful about the host you select and choose someone who will be a good face of the brand.

If you're putting on a webinar for your employees, the host can be someone in a leadership position at the company.

You can even hire a freelancer who focuses on event hosting as your webinar host. Regardless of who you choose, the goal should be to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for the event and select a host that will set a good pace for the webinar.

A high level of energy on camera is a must when it comes to choosing a webinar host, whether you hire a professional or pick someone in-house. It's also essential that they have a firm grasp of the subject matter you'll be talking about so they can help smooth out any bumps in the flow of conversation. On top of that, they can join the moderators and speakers in answering questions and chime in with useful insight during the webinar.

Tips For Being a Webinar Host

If you're going to be a webinar host for the first time, it can be a bit nerve-wracking. Don't worry– you've got this!

Whether you're a natural on camera or you're feeling a bit shy about the whole thing, following these tips can help the whole endeavor go as smoothly as possible.

Pay Attention to the Audio

Hands down, the most important factor in a successful webinar is the audio. After all, it doesn't matter how amazing your presentation is if no one can hear it!

To ensure everyone has a problem-free listening experience, be thoughtful about the location where you host from. A soundproof room is ideal, but a quiet room is a good second choice. You also might consider using an ethernet cord rather than WiFi to connect to the internet to help provide a stable internet connection.

It's also best to buy an external microphone rather than relying on the microphones built into your computer. You might consider hiring a technical assistant to help you get everything set up and to help you in real-time in case of any technical issues.

Practice Makes Perfect

Practicing before you go live (or before you record a pre-recorded webinar) can make a huge difference. This can be a great way to help you build confidence before hosting and run through your intro and other talking points to make sure they are exactly how you want them.

It's a great idea to have someone present (virtually or otherwise) in order to give you some honest feedback. This is one of the best ways to prepare for your webinar and ensure that your pace is good, you're speaking clearly, and your tone is as you want it to be.

Practicing can also help you make sure that your timing is on point. If you don't have anyone to help you out, consider filming or recording yourself so you can get a sense of your strong and weak points.

Plan a Short Intro

How does a host start a webinar? If you jump right into the meat of things, it can be difficult for your audience to engage with the content. If you go on for too long, though, you could start to lose their attention right off the bat.

A great way to begin your webinar is by telling a short story about why you're there and why the topic at hand is important to you. While it's understandable to be nervous when you're not used to being a host in this capacity, this is a great time to exude energy and enthusiasm to get everyone involved pumped for the upcoming presentation.

Keep Your Tone Conversational

When you're hosting a webinar, it's essential to remember that there are real, live people out there that are listening to you. You'll want to personalize your webinar by keeping your tone conversational. When you're audience is large, it can be helpful to imagine that you're having a one-on-one conversation with a colleague or a friend.

If there aren't any speakers other than you, consider incorporating a Q&A into the presentation. This can help make sure that everyone stays engaged and interested during the entire webinar.

Work to Capture the Attention of Your Audience

Let's face it– people have short attention spans these days. This means that you have to go out of your way to grab your audience's attention and keep hold of it. This is particularly true when it comes to webinars, as many other things are competing for your audience's attention.

You can help hold their attention by keeping each webinar section short and creating a mix of videos, interactive questions, images, challenges, and tasks. If you're struggling to identify how to schedule the segments of your webinar, consider attending a few as an audience member and take notes on what you think works and what just doesn't jive with you.

Webinar planning can feel overwhelming when you're new to the game, but it doesn't have to be. With some advanced organization and maybe a pizza party here and there, you'll find that designing the perfect webinar is a breeze. This guide takes a deep dive into everything you need to know about the timeline and organization of designing a webinar.

What Is a Webinar Moderator?

The moderator of your webinar, on the other hand, acts as a mediator during the webinar. In an essential support position to the host and the speakers, the moderator is able to deal with a long list of behind-the-scenes responsibilities so those on camera don't have to.

When your webinar allows chats and questions, it's important to have one person assigned to moderating these, responding to messages, and, if necessary, excluding participants. For example, someone that is posting inflammatory or inappropriate statements might be removed from the chats, while a person from a competing brand might be excluded from the webinar.

Your moderator should be able to view all of the messages in the chat and all the participants present.

Tips For Being a Webinar Moderator

Preparing to be a moderator is a bit different than preparing to be a host. Though you're not in a camera-facing position, it's definitely worth taking the time to get yourself ready to take on the task.

Understand the Objective of the Webinar

Getting a sense of what the host wants to accomplish is essential for a webinar moderator. Set up a time to meet with the host and speakers to understand what the primary objectives and goals are for the webinar. This is a great time to get a grasp on the target demographic, the purpose behind the webinar, and the desired results.

You can also use this opportunity to tune into the voice of the presenter. Some webinars might be more professional, while others might be more laid-back. By getting a sense of the tone, you can help the brand stay on message and on point.

Ahead of time, you'll want to review any marketing material that the organization uses if you aren't already familiar with it. You'll want to firmly understand the brand's identity so the support you give can be in alignment with the company's tone and vibe.

Pinpoint the Host's Expectations

Different hosts might have different expectations of what a moderator does and doesn't do. Talk to the host about what they expect your role to consist of so you can meet both their expectations and the audience's expectations.

Some hosts might want the moderator to participate and speak to the audience in certain portions of the webinar, while others might want you to stay behind the scenes.

Identify the Expectations of the Audience

If you want to be a successful moderator for a webinar, you'll want to position yourself in a way where you understand the expectations of both the host and the audience. You can work side by side with the host to identify who the audience is and what they expect to get from attending the webinar.

Schedule Some Rehearsals

Practice isn't just important for the host; everyone involved in the webinar can benefit from a dry run or two. Consider suggesting that you schedule a rehearsal several days before you intend to go live or record your webinar. This is a great opportunity to work through the entire presentation and find any spots that need a little extra work or attention.

Practice the Day Of the Webinar

If you really want to go the extra mile, connect with the host and speakers on the day of the webinar to make sure everyone is on the same page. You can also take this time to test your audiovisual equipment one last time.

Do You Want to Make Your Next Webinar Extra Special?

Planning the ultimate webinar experience is probably going to require a lot of late nights with your team. How can you get everyone to show up with a smile on their face for rehearsal? We might be a bit partial here, but our vote is for pizza.

What about all of your webinar attendees? How can you ensure that they won't be distracted by their rumbling stomachs when you're making your incredible presentation?

Again, we're going to have to go with pizza.

An employee training webinar? No problem. Slices all around!

At PizzaTime, we wholeheartedly believe that there are few situations in life that can't be improved with a good, old-fashioned pizza party. If the thought of sending dozens of people their own pie has your head spinning, don't worry. Let us organize a pizza party so you can focus on what really matters: planning the best webinar in the history of webinars.

The Pizzatime Blog

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