Moderating a Group Presentation



To ensure that the group project runs smoothly on the day of the presentation, the group ought to designate one of its members as "the moderator." This person is responsible for keeping the presentation organized, for making sure that the group follows its format, and for ensuring that all other group members do their expected part of the presentation.

In smaller groups (less than five), the moderator typically assumes this role along with presenting a chunk of the group’s content. In larger groups, it works better to keep the moderator’s role limited to moderating. As you’ll see below, there’s plenty for the moderator to do and the task becomes more complicated as the group gets bigger.

If your group decides NOT to have a moderator, you’ll need to figure out an alternative plan to ensure that the moderator’s FUNCTIONS are accomplished. You might, for example, give each group member a few of the duties of the moderator. Of course, the more you decentralize the moderator’s role, the more likely it is that those tasks will be performed unevenly (or maybe even omitted).


Begin the discussion by doing an introduction in which you:

Present an opening statement to gain audience attention and create interest
in the issue to be discussed
State the question for discussion
Introduce the panelists
Give a brief overview of the main topics to be discussed
Make a transition which initiates the substance of the discussion

Regulate communication during the body of the discussion by:

Keeping the group on its agenda
Making brief summary statements (where necessary)
Offering transition statements between participant statements and topics


Asks questions to initiate topics of discussion
Asks questions to clarify comments made
Asks questions to probe for additional details
Makes summary statements
"Rebounds" the group (observing when discussion has drifted off the
subject and then reorienting the group)
Offers opinions/information as a way of stimulating discussion
Balancing communication among group members
Mediating any disputes which arise between panelists

Closes the discussion with a conclusion that:

Offers the audience an opportunity to ask questions
Summarizes the whole presentation (do this after the Q & A session ends)
Brings the discussion to a close with a final statement that emphasizes the central idea of the presentation.