The One Thing Every Virtual Engagement Needs
by Jenna Bloomfield, Financial Operations
Many accountants and consultants are delivering their services virtually these days or preparing webinars to share information with clients. When planning for these virtual meetings or events, most people think of two roles: someone responsible for the technical side of scheduling and setting up the event, and the professional in charge of presenting or leading the conversation. But there’s another important role that is often overlooked: the event moderator.
When you think of an event moderator, you might imagine someone asking questions to a group of panelists. That’s one function a moderator can fulfill, but there’s much more they can handle. And if you start leveraging this role to its full potential, your virtual engagements will go much smoother.
Responsibilities of an event moderator
During our Boomer Technology Circles Summit, I acted as the event moderator for several sessions. I’m going to share with you a few of the tasks I handled behind the scenes.
Keeping an eye on technical issues during the event. Audio problems are a common frustration during virtual events. People might have slow wi-fi, forget to take their microphone off mute, or encounter other issues that leave attendees or speakers in silence. An event moderator can watch out for these issues and loop in IT when needed.
Monitor attendance. During a webinar or conference, attendees might be worried about getting their CPE. The moderator can keep track of who is attending to ensure they’ll receive their certificate at the end of the meeting. Even if CPE isn’t a factor, the moderator can ensure the presenter has a record of the names and email addresses for everyone in the meeting. This comes in handy if they need to follow up with meeting notes, due outs, etc.
Handle questions in chat. Most video conferencing tools now feature a chat bar where attendees can ask questions. It can be extremely distracting for the person speaking or engaging in conversation to monitor and address questions and comments in the chat. A moderator can pay attention to the chat bar to ensure that the facilitator can focus on presenting.
Gather presentations and materials. The moderator can queue up presentation slides or ensure attendees have access to handouts.
Follow up after the meeting. Sometimes, attendees ask questions in chat that are important, but the presenter or consultant doesn’t have time to respond to them during the live session. The moderator can ensure those questions or comments get to the consultant or project manager after the meeting, so they can follow up via email. They can also follow up with attendees after the event to see if they’re interested in any other services the firm provides.
Keep an eye on the clock. A moderator can ensure the meeting sticks to the schedule or the presentations running on time. Behind the scenes, they can remind the consultant when it’s time to move on to the next agenda item.
Be a resource for the presenter. During the event, the moderator can check in with the presenter to make sure they have what they need and ask if there is anything they can do to make things easier.
These types of tasks are beneficial during a webinar or conference, but they can be just as helpful during a Dangers, Opportunities and Strengths conversation with potential clients or while delivering a consulting engagement. The moderator takes all of the technical and behind the scenes pressure off of the consultant, ensuring the consultant can focus their energy and attention on listening to clients and having a conversation.
The next time you schedule a virtual engagement, try using a moderator. I think you’ll find that your meetings will be better structured, with improved communication and better connections between your firm and its clients.
As Financial Operations for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Jenna is passionate about the administrative side of business –both internally and externally.Her primary focus is on the company’s payroll, human resources, and accounting.
Before joining Boomer Consulting, Inc.as a Solutions Advisor in 2018,Jenna owned a home health agency for three and a half years.