Tips for speakers and moderators

To make a good online session at Dataharvest Digital:

  • You want your message to go through loud and clear – and many listeners are not native English speakers (maybe you are neither). Talk clearly and not too fast!
  • Get in touch with the moderator and, if relevant, other panelists well before the session to discuss and plan the session.
  • Slides should be simpler and with fewer words than for an in-presence session. Slides and videos must be uploaded before the session (and tested!).
  • Moderator(s) will be present at all times, follow the chat and curate questions
  • Attract participants – share your session on social media!

To make the best appearance online:

  • Place yourself against a neutral background
  • Make sure that there is light on your face (don’t have a window behind you)
  • Make sure that the camera is at eye level (if you use the laptop camera, put books under the laptop – otherwise we see your nostrils or double chin)

Technicalities to make the session run smoothly:

  • We use a conference system based on BigBlueButton – please find a tutorial for speakers
  • Use a wired connection instead of WiFi if possible. Try to avoid mobile connections (if you have no other possibility make sure to use LTE/4G and that the connection is fast enough).
  • The moderator will usually contact you a couple of days before the session to introduce you to the system, test camera and microphone etc.
  • Please use a headset, preferably with a bow and fixed microphone (wire headsets with microphones tend to pick up noise from touching your clothes). Cable headsets are more reliable than Bluetooth headsets.
  • Send your presentation slides and other material to the moderator before the session to be uploaded (as PDF documents). Videos need to be uploaded to Youtube to be shown.
  • You can also share your screen to show slides. The sound will not be shared – if you want to play video, it must be uploaded to Youtube before the session.

If you are the moderator:

  1. Get in touch with the panelists before the conference to discuss the main points of the panel and how to divide time between the participants.
  2. Get a good start – greet the audience and tell them what the goals of the debate is and why we have decided to organize it. If relevant, make a poll in the audience about the central question and ask the panelists to comment on the results.
  3. Don’t be afraid to stop and move on – there will always be more to say about any subject. Don’t be afraid to break off a discussion. The panel has together decided how to divide time, you are making sure that the agreement is kept.
  4. You are facilitating a conversation, not interviewing Leave space for spontaneity and direct conversation between the panelists.
  5. You are neutral – Sorry, but the moderator cannot also be a panelist, especially not if there is disagreement on the panel.
  6. Stop in time – people need the break, and so do you.