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How to Moderate Talks, Panels, Meetings, More

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How to Moderate Talks, Panels, Meetings, More


5 min read
4 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Moderating a Zoom panel? Don’t panic. Sonal Chokshi and Matt Abrahams discuss the essentials of personal and virtual communication.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Overview
  • Concrete Examples


In this a16z podcast, interviewer Sonal Chokshi and guest Matt Abrahams discuss essential skills and techniques for conducting successful interactive communications, including presentations, interviews or panels. They outline the necessary planning and preparation, tell you how to keep a discussion on topic, and provide valuable advice about verbal and non-verbal behavior for virtual and  in-person events. Practicing their straightforward tips can help you achieve calmness and confidence in person and on screen. 


When planning an interactive communication, establish a clear goal and shape the arc of the experience to support it.

When you set a defined goal for an interactive communication – whether giving a presentation, conducting an interview or leading a panel –  answer these questions:  

  1. What information do you want your audience to acquire?
  2. What emotions do you want them to experience?
  3. What actions do want them to take?

Understand your audience members are and what matters to them. A compelling structure leads the audience from the subject matter to an explanation of why it’s important. Start with the meaningfulness of the subject, then provide the core of your material before advocating action. 

Don’t let speakers introduce themselves – introduce them yourself so you shape the audience’s experience from the outset. Start with something novel or controversial to capture their interest, offer a brief introduction and then outline your discussion topics. 

Don’t let the presentation aimlessly run out at the end. Thank everyone who contributed, including ...

About the Podcast

Sonal Chokshi, editor in chief at Andresson Horowitz, hosts this episode of the its a16z Podcast. Matt Abrahams, host of the Think Fast, Talk Smart podcast, lectures on communication at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and is a founder of Bold Echo, a communication skills consultancy.

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