moderator casting – what to consider?
One morning the phone rang. On the other end of the line an excited woman. We’ve introduced our boss to six presenters now, none of whom he’s liked. I generally don’t like moderator casting. This time I have been personally recommended, so no excuse counts on my part. So the following day, with my heart pounding, I find myself in the executive office of this international company. My heart beats a little stronger than usual, because I was recommended and of course I don’t want to disappoint her.
It soon becomes clear why no moderator could pass the moderator casting
In conversation with the board member, who has a strong character, I quickly understand why no moderator has gained a foothold here. Neither do I, by the way, if the conversation continues like this. As is so often the case, the flaws in the company structure and communication are revealed in the first few sentences. These are the moments when I am glad to be independent. As an employee, you only have the choice between the plague and Corona.
The higher the pressure, the greater the control
Actually, the colleagues just want to celebrate their successes together. A big party is on the agenda. Important customers, government representatives and also the chief executive from overseas are on the guest list. Superficially there is reason to celebrate. Behind the scenes it’s all about politics, cost-cutting, redundancies. Who shows up on stage with whom and what exactly should be said and especially what should not be said at all. It’s all about the distribution of power. The beads of sweat on my skin told me that under these conditions no one can celebrate success at this party. That the staff is abused here for power games. Which would also explain the low enrollment numbers. Which in turn increases the pressure.
A game that many event agencies know and can’t solve
I am sitting in this board office, my water has long since been drunk, the whole room is mined. Chaos in my head, the inner team is going crazy. I get up, go to the window and look outside. Honestly, I’m not that experienced at this point, a look at my birth certificate would reveal my tender age of 32. Not a good age to stand up to someone in his late 50s. The guy on the board looks at his expensive watch. I take a deep breath and a fine line opens up. I ask him how he envisions the celebration. In front of his inner eye, so to speak. He told me everything, I had all the information that was important, he replied. OK, three meters of granite between us, I think to myself. So I tell him how the party will go according to his specifications and my experience. I told him my truth and how I come to my opinion. With the conclusion: The party cannot take place like this and has to be canceled. The current information I have is too thin to open up alternatives.
I sit down without a word. He gets up and leaves.
As so often in these situations, my skin burns. I am surprised at my radical thoughts myself. That’s no way for a moderator to talk. A facilitator has to come up with solutions. Connecting communication. Has my ideal image interfered here, perhaps also my anger at narcissistic persons. It’s clear that you don’t get any orders that way and you don’t pass a casting either. I take my things and walk down the hallway. The woman on the phone comes up to me and gives me a thumbs up and a grin.
I am not paid to give someone my opinion
The higher the pressure, the more difficult the work becomes. Provided everyone wants to keep control. But keeping absolute control at a live event is nonsense. This doesn’t work if the unaddressed topics are piled up under the carpet. If I stand in the fire there as a moderator, I’m burned. Burn-out of a different kind. Should I get involved in the job, we have to see where there is still a residual trust. Grow the issue and put it at the top of the agenda. Addressing unpleasant issues while standing shoulder to shoulder with critics in the company. Listening, weighing up, allowing and exchanging opinions. This is the only way companies can grow healthily and celebrate successes together. I can expect that little bit of common sense from a board member. And also the backbone to expose myself to other opinions and to try things out and also to make mistakes. To stand protectively in front of his team.
Oh well, I guess I can ask for that? And can we learn that under pressure and control on the way to a board position? Probably not.
And yes, I do trust my clients with my truth and my opinion.
This is the only way to discover new ways of doing things together and to ensure surprised faces at parties and celebrations. Because that is why we celebrate together.
One day later the call comes. I have the job. The preparations for the event are elaborate, a meeting marathon follows. The party is a complete success, the guests curl up in laughter and the last one turns off the lights well after midnight. At past events it was over shortly before midnight. This is what quality control looks like. A job that was again more than just a job and again learned a lot. Applause!
Checklist for your moderator casting:
- Work out in your team what goals you want to achieve with the help of a facilitator
- Make a pre-selection of moderators who fit your business philosophy and thinking – who are sympathetic to you
- Check if you also need conceptual support and look for appropriate moderators
- Write to the presenters with a short briefing or inquire in advance on the phone whether the presenter could fit in
- Invite to get to know each other and have an open conversation – do not call this conversation casting / limit the applicants to max. 3 – if at all
- During the interview, make sure you have a critical candidate in front of you who is giving you honest advice – ask specifically if your concept is viable, if there are any suggestions from the presenter
#moderator casting #casting #hamburg #munich #moderator
I was inspired to write this post by Castinpartner
Image credits // Royalty free stock photo number: 698368000 // Source: shutterstock // Photographer: Sky Antonio