Galuh Sahid

Moderating Conference Sessions

— 03 Jan 2019

Last October I had the chance to become one of the moderators for PyCon Indonesia. It was my first time moderating & I definitely learned a lot! Actually, it was kind of last minute too—I was originally only in charge of the PyLadies session on the second day, but one day before the first day I was asked to moderate one of the tracks for two full days. Fortunately I’ve been lucky enough to attend a few conferences both as an attendee & a speaker, so I could draw from my previous experiences while scrambling to prepare within less than 24 hours.

I’m using the term moderator & MC interchangeably here, as my job actually kind of spanned both roles, I guess. The job description for each role might be different for each conference. Some might have both an MC & moderator, some might only have a moderator. It’s always a good idea to make sure what your designated job is to the conference organizers. :)

Before the conference

On location

Things to mention to the speakers

Some conferences might have their own speaker buddies, & in such case the things I’m outlining below might be the speaker buddies’ responsibilities. However, in the case where there are no speaker buddies, I guess the moderators can step in to help. :) I’ve been in situations where it was already my time to present but I had no clue who to reach out to. Having those “should I just go ahead to the front, plug my laptop in, & present?!” feelings on top of my already-existing nervousness didn’t make things better. I know how anxious that situation could be, so I’d try my best not to let it happen to other people!

Here are some things I clarified/asked/mentioned to the speakers:

Etc.

Sometimes you’ll find yourselves in situations where you need to have some fillers, e.g. when waiting for everyone to shuffle inside, etc. Some things you can say: