Dental Reach has always been at the forefront for providing the right kind of education being made available to all dental practitioners, far and wide, whether it be in the form of magazine issues or through organizing conferences and webinars online.
One such educative series was conducted recently by Dental Reach in association with Dr. Deepa Ravichandran on ‘Right Bite: Harmony between Esthetics and Function DR Clinical Series 1’ which started in October 2022 and ended in April 2023. I was asked to moderate the sessions and it has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride. Here’s my 7 month experience which can serve as a guide for anyone who wishes to be a webinar host/moderator.
What is a webinar host/moderator?
A webinar host/moderator is a team member that helps to mediate a virtual event. He/she ensure the guest speakers and audience are looked after throughout the event and that everything runs smoothly.
Sometimes, the host has a few backstage responsibilities too, like putting together a presentation or showing speakers how to use the webinar platform. Moderators can be used for live as well as recorded webinars.
Role of a webinar host/moderator
As a moderator for an online webinar series, you are at the forefront of the latest dental knowledge and technology. Your role is critical in ensuring that participants are engaged, informed, and actively participating in the learning experience.
As a moderator, you have the opportunity to facilitate engaging discussions and help to educate your audience on various topics related to dental health and technology.
Overall, my experience for moderating this particular clinical series as an Endodontist was an exciting and rewarding one.
Challenges of a webinar host/moderator
Challenges that come with the role include technical difficulties and managing participant engagement.
Firstly, as a moderator, you are responsible for the smooth running of the webinar, which includes:
- ensuring that all participants have access to the webinar platform,
- that any relevant information to be put across during the webinar like polls/quizzes or PDFs/PPTs are collected from the speaker in advance and
- that the content is relevant and engaging
- managing questions from the participant and
- managing feedback from the participants.
Smooth running of the webinar requires careful planning and coordination with the speakers and technical team to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Managing questions and feedback from the participants requires you to be knowledgeable about the content being presented and able to respond quickly and accurately.
One of the biggest challenges you face as a moderator is keeping the participants engaged and interested in the content. This is especially true for online webinars, where participants can easily become distracted or lose interest. To combat this, you need to be proactive in engaging the participants through various techniques such as interactive polls, live chat, and Q&A sessions. You also need to ensure that the content is presented in a clear and concise manner, and that the speakers are engaging and dynamic.
In the DR clinical series, to ensure this we kept regular polls that helped in keeping the audience enagaged and also facilitated a good debate depending on the results of the poll.
Another challenge is managing technical issues that may arise during the webinar, such as connectivity issues or glitches in the platform. As a moderator, you need to be able to troubleshoot these issues quickly and efficiently to ensure that the webinar continues without interruption. This requires a strong understanding of the technical aspects of the webinar platform, as well as the ability to communicate effectively with the technical team to resolve any issues.
The DR Core team has always been at the top of their game when it comes to managing and conducting such online sessions. Their webinars are all well planned, and executed efficiently. Technical team support too has been extremely smooth and the webinars were conducted with minimal difficulties and glitches.
Why should you be a webinar host/moderator?
Despite these challenges, moderating an online dental webinar series also presents many opportunities.
- Firstly, you have the opportunity to learn about the latest trends and advancements in dental technology and practice.
- This can help you stay up-to-date with the latest industry developments and improve your own knowledge and skills.
- Secondly, you have the opportunity to interact with and learn from leading experts in the dental field – directly.
- This can be an invaluable experience for anyone looking to advance their career in the dental industry.
With the right preparation and approach, a moderator can help to create a valuable and engaging learning experience for all participants.
My experience as a cross specialist host/moderator for DentalReach
I am an Endodontist and the clinical series I moderated belonged largely to Prosthodontics. This cross of specialisation however, did not prove to be a hindrance. It was a bit challenging but rewarding experience. I had to carefully plan, coordinate, and communicate from my side to ensure that everything runs smoothly. It required a strong attention to detail, excellent communication skills, and a deep understanding of the subject, because of which I ended up reading a lot of Prosthodontics, which I otherwise may not have.
In all, if you are passionate about dentistry like myself, and enjoy working with people, then moderating an online webinar series may be the perfect opportunity for you to expand your knowledge and connections.
10 practical tips for a webinar host/moderator:
- Familiarize yourself with the technology: Be sure to test the webinar platform ahead of time so you know how it works and can troubleshoot any issues that may arise during the event.
- Plan ahead: Create a detailed agenda for the event and share it with the presenters and attendees in advance so everyone knows what to expect.
- Introduce the presenters: Start the event by introducing the presenters and their backgrounds to help establish their credibility with the audience.
- Keep things on track: Make sure the presenters stick to the agenda and don’t go off on tangents. Use gentle prompts if necessary to keep the event moving forward.
- Encourage audience participation: Ask questions of the presenters and encourage attendees to submit their own questions or comments via the chat feature.
- Manage the chat: Keep an eye on the chat throughout the event and respond to questions and comments as appropriate. If the chat becomes overwhelming, consider having a co-moderator to help you manage it.
- Be aware of time: Make sure the event stays on schedule and don’t let presenters go over their allotted time. Use timers to keep things on track.
- Handle technical issues: If technical issues arise during the event, stay calm and work to resolve them as quickly as possible. Have a backup plan in case the technology fails completely.
- Summarize key points: At the end of the event, summarize the key points covered and thank the presenters and attendees for their participation.
- Prepare yourself for the webinar by reviewing the presenter’s script and having ample knowledge of the subject matter to be able to answer questions in depth. Additionally, it’s a good idea to prepare a list of your own questions to ask during the webinar in case no questions come in from the audience. This can help stimulate engagement and encourage attendees to ask their own questions. After the webinar, you can also use these questions as a starting point for follow-up discussions or blog posts.