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  1. Be quiet. Your job is to help the conversation happen.
  2. Be firm. Let them know you are the leader and hope to make this worthwhile.
  3. Be prepared. Know the subject. It is hard to steer a discussion that you don't understand. Have ready possible questions, or whatever conversation starters you think will work.
  4. Be able to multitask. This is a biggie. You will need to listen to the current discussion, while watching the time, how long the current discussion has gone on, and how to move on.
  5. Be deferential. You're not the star. The audience is. You're just there to keep things moving along.
  6. Keep on track. While you're not the star, you need to be the audience's advocate on time, answers, and issues. Cut off chatterers. Cut off discussion if it is going on too long or off track. Indicate that maybe this topic is something to bring up at the end of the session or in another venue.
  7. Be timely. This is so important. Get the session started on time, keep it moving, and get it done on time. Let people see you confidently keep the discussion moving.
  8. Be fun. If you don't have fun, your panel won't have fun, and your audience won't have fun. The world does not need more unfun conference panels.

Suggestions:

  • Have two moderators. Depending on the group’s size split the group for a period of time and then meet together as whole for a group wide discussion.
  • Have something to give to those willing to participate. It doesn’t have to be much or expensive, e.g. penny candy, pencils, bookmarks, etc. Reward those who are willing to talk.

Adapted from: 10 Rules for Being a Great Panel Moderator (Accessed: December 4, 2008)