Are you moderating a livestream panel discussion for the first time? Congratulations! Or maybe you’ve done it before and realized you need a little extra help. While it may seem simple to facilitate a livestream conversation, there is more that goes into it than you might think. From writing a script to planning your transitions and timing to prepping your guests to avoiding technical difficulties, there is a lot to do to be fully prepared for success when live.
Here at SN:D Agency, we’ve produced many livestreams and gained ample experience and want to share our top 6 most important tips to help you moderate a successful livestream panel.
Tip 1: The Necessity of a Script and Run-Of-Show
We cannot stress this enough: preparation is key to a successful livestream panel discussion. Once you’ve got your guests, topic(s), and livestreaming situation nailed down, the main things to prepare are the script and run-of-show.
Our use of the word “script” here is a little loose. As a live panel moderator, you will need an outline of your introduction, questions, and conclusions to act as a script. It may seem redundant to write everything out, but even seasoned panel moderators work off notes, and as a beginner, you will likely be reading off your script. For the questions, plan out exactly which questions you plan to ask each guest. Include a few auxiliary questions that are optional to ask at the end if time allows.
In addition to a script, we recommend that you prepare a run-of-show document, which contains the script but also provides an outline of the show, the timing, the order, and instructions for the producer, the host, and the guests. You will want to provide your script and run of the show to everyone involved with the livestream at least 48 hours in advance to ensure everyone is prepared.
Tip 2: Plan Your Transitions
Transitions between questions will help you appear professional and on point at all times. Our trick for smooth transitions is to plan an exact phrase to use each time you metaphorically “call a guest the stage” to answer a question. Your guest should know what your transition phrase is, so they are alerted as you are moving from one question to the next. The phrase is not only essential for guests to be ready to speak, but it is also essential for your producer to manage title screens and graphics and all the magic that makes your livestream professional-looking.
Tip 3: Timing is EVERYTHING
As you plan and facilitate your livestream panel discussion, the timing of the event is one of the most important things to pay attention to. It is the moderator’s job to keep the livestream on track and ensure the livestream delivers the promised content in the allotted time. It is essential that you start and end on time.
This is a huge job to keep a panel on track, give each guest equal time to speak, and cover the planned topics. Here are tips to help you manage the timing of your livestream:
- Write the time frame of each section of the panel in the run-of-show document.
- Look at how many questions you are asking and how many guests are answering, and plan out how much time will be given to each guest to answer – and then cut it down by about 30 seconds to allow yourself more cushion time.
- Expect that each question will take longer than planned and plan a cushion in your timing.
- Rehearse your introduction, conclusion, and transitions.
Tip 4: Prep Your Guests For Their Success (and Yours)
Prepare your guests for the livestream panel discussion by sending them the run-of-show and script ahead of time. Make sure they know what questions they will be asked, in what order they’ll be speaking, how much time they will be given to answer each question, and what information you will use to introduce them. This will allow them to prepare their answers, so they are able to be eloquent, knowledgeable, and comfortable on-screen. It will also allow them to give feedback if there is a question they’d rather not answer or information you planned to share about them that they’d rather remove from the script.
In addition to preparing your guests for the conversation, make sure they are prepared for the technical aspects of the online panel discussion. Provide your guests with a time that they need to be online and in the broadcast studio of whatever streaming platform you are using, instructions for joining the broadcast, instructions for their camera and microphone, and any other specifics for the technical and logistical aspects.
Tip 5: Test All Participants’ Technology
We highly recommend conducting a technology test with all the guests present at least 24 hours before the livestream panel event. This will allow you to work through any technical problems before you are live. Make sure to instruct your guest that they should come to the test call using the exact same device(s) and internet connection they will be using for the livestream.
There are a lot of moving parts involved in successfully producing and moderating a livestream panel. Hiring an agency like SN:D Agency, which has access to better technology and streaming platforms and experience running online livestreams will reduce your stress and ensure your brand has a professional livestream event.
At SN:D we offer a 360-degree white-glove professional livestreaming production service that can help take your brand to the next level in livestreaming. To learn more about how we can help you with your next livestream, contact us today!