Guy Kawasaki hits it out of the ballpark again, this time with a post called How to Be a Great Moderator. Anyone who moderates a panel should memorize these tips and, more importantly, follow them. My favorite:
Involve the audience. Moderators should allocate approximately 30% of the duration of the panel to questions from the audience. Any more, and the audience will run out of high-quality questions. Any less and the audience will feel like it did not participate. However, don't feel obligated to accept any stupid questions from the audience any more than you accept stupid answers from the panelists. Just in case, always have a few good questions in your hip pocket just in case on one in the audience has a question (thanks for the suggestion, Alek). Or, even better, you could â€seedâ€ the audience in advance.
And please, please, feel free to cut off those audience members who really want to give a little dissertation of their own instead of having an honest question to ask. They make me—and, I suspect, everyone else—nuts.