How to Expertly Moderate a Fintech Panel

Expert Tips for Preparing and Moderating a Fintech Panel Discussion

Welcome to “How to Expertly Moderate a Fintech Panel”

I’m Darren Franks, and over the past decade, I’ve had the distinct privilege and challenge of moderating panels at some of the leading FinTech events globally.

This guide is a culmination of those experiences, designed to help you navigate the rewarding, yet often daunting, world of panel moderation in the dynamic FinTech sector. I’ve had the honor of moderating panel discussions at leading events including Seamless Africa, Money20/20, Africa FinTech Summit, e-commerce Africa, London FinTech Week, African Banking Summit, Digital Banking 4.0 series and the Africa Tech Festival

When I started, my initial attempts at moderating were, frankly, less than stellar. I stumbled through my first few panels, grappling with the nuances of effective moderation and audience engagement. These experiences were far from perfect, but they were invaluable learning opportunities. They taught me that, like any skill, moderation requires practice, patience, and a willingness to learn from each interaction.

Expert Tips for Preparing and Moderating a Fintech Panel Discussion
My first attempt at Moderating a FinTech Panel

Over time, and through a lot of trial and error, I honed my approach. I learned to strike the right balance between guiding panelists and giving them the freedom to express their insights. The key was not just in asking the right questions, but also in listening actively, managing the flow of conversation, and ensuring that each panel discussion was not only informative but also engaging and thought-provoking for the audience. This led me to host, what’s now become, one of the best FinTech Podcasts – Talking Success.

Darren Franks, FinTech Moderator

This guide is an honest reflection of that journey. It’s for anyone looking to step into the role of a panel moderator in the FinTech world, whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting out. Here, I share the essential tips and strategies that have helped me transform from a tentative beginner to a confident moderator. Let’s dive in and explore how you can prepare for and successfully moderate a FinTech panel discussion, creating an experience that resonates with both your panelists and your audience.

1. Preparing for Your FinTech Panel

Crafting a Perfect Agenda: Your agenda is the framework for your panel. It should outline major topics, including allocated time for each, and incorporate audience interaction through Q&A sessions. Flexibility is key, as discussions can take unexpected turns. This approach ensures that all key points are addressed while allowing for dynamic discussions.

Setting the Stage for Success: The physical or virtual environment plays a significant role. In-person events require careful consideration of room layout for optimal interaction. For virtual events, choosing a user-friendly platform that encourages participation is vital.

2. Engaging Panelists and Audience

Preparation for Panelists: Panelists should be briefed on the agenda and main themes. This ensures they are confident and contributes to an engaging dialogue.

Creating a Welcoming Atmosphere: Employ interactive elements like live polls and foster an inclusive environment where audience feels valued. Post-event, gather feedback to gain insights for future improvements.

3. Conducting the Panel Discussion

Mastering Moderation: The moderator plays a crucial role in guiding the discussion, ensuring equal speaking time for panelists, and facilitating smooth transitions between topics. Encouraging diverse viewpoints enriches the discussion.

Ensuring Active Participation: Engage the audience by opening the floor for questions and utilizing interactive tools, especially in virtual or hybrid events.

4. Managing the Unexpected

Technical Difficulties: Always have a backup plan for technical issues, especially in virtual settings.

Navigating Sensitive Topics: As a moderator, redirect conversations tactfully if they veer off-topic or into sensitive areas, maintaining a constructive environment.

5. Wrapping Up and Reflecting

Effective Closure: Summarize key points and thank participants. Provide additional resources related to the discussion topic.

Follow-Up: Send personalized thank-you notes to panelists and attendees. Share a summary or recording of the discussion and gather feedback through surveys.

6. Incorporating Specifics

Understanding the FinTech Landscape: Stay informed about current trends and hot topics in FinTech. This year, significant themes include the future of payments, environmental sustainability in the payments ecosystem, and the regulation landscape.

Leveraging Industry Events: Draw inspiration from leading FinTech events like Fintech Week London, MoneyLive, and FinTech LIVE Virtual New York for contemporary topics and expert insights.

Engaging with FinTech Community: Utilize platforms like FinTechtris and FinTech Futures for insights into recent developments in the FinTech sector, such as embedded finance, AI in financial services, and digital banking trends.

“The most impactful discussions are those that leave your audience thinking, questioning, and eager for more”

Darren Franks

Final Thoughts

As we conclude this journey through the essentials of preparing and moderating a FinTech panel discussion, remember that the art of moderation is much like the FinTech industry itself: dynamic, evolving, and rich with opportunities for growth and innovation.

Reflecting on my decade-long experience, I’ve seen firsthand how each panel discussion is a unique tapestry woven from diverse perspectives and insights. As a moderator, you have the power to illuminate these viewpoints, creating a vibrant and engaging narrative that captivates your audience.

Remember, your initial attempts might not be perfect, and that’s perfectly okay. Each panel is a learning experience, a stepping stone to mastering the craft of moderation. Embrace the challenges and the triumphs alike. Your growth as a moderator parallels the ever-changing landscape of FinTech – dynamic, challenging, but immensely rewarding.

Above all, approach each panel with curiosity, openness, and a commitment to fostering meaningful dialogues. Whether you’re exploring cutting-edge technologies, debating regulatory complexities, or unveiling new market strategies, your role is pivotal in shaping these conversations.

I invite you to use this guide as a starting point. Combine these tips with your personal style and insights. Your journey in moderating FinTech panels is not just about guiding discussions; it’s about being an integral part of the innovative and transformative world of FinTech.

As you step onto your next panel stage, remember: the most impactful discussions are those that leave your audience thinking, questioning, and eager for more. Your moderation can make that difference. Happy moderating!

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