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We have now trained several thousand people in all facets of our profession. We regularly hear stories from our alumni about how they fared after the training or workshop. In it, they share observations, insights and learning points that will be of interest to any moderator.
Mark Huis in 't Veld struggled with the opening, but it came to him when he stopped looking.

The day had finally arrived. My first official job as moderator. Venue: Utrecht. In the hall: 350+ day traders. The goal of the organisation: connect and develop. It was a new challenge for me, but also for the organisers of this event, as they had never organised anything like this before. So we set to work together to develop a programme that balanced the energy and left enough room for interaction during the plenary session as well as before the session, during the break and afterwards.

And once the programme is clear and you have spoken to all the stage guests and speakers, it starts. At least, in my mind. The visualisation of the day, the introduction texts, the possibilities for interaction and, of course, the opening. It’s always best to hit the ground running.
Days passed and the inspiration for a cool opening was lacking. Until about 24 hours before the start. Suddenly the penny dropped when I was on my way to have a coffee in town and wasn’t consciously thinking about it for a moment. Day traders buy shares at the opening of the stock market only to sell them again later the same day (at a profit). So they analyse what is going to be popular in the market that day. Popular only for a short amount of time. A Eureka moment! Those shares are like mayflies. Day traders catch mayflies. They are scouting mayflies. ‘Bingo’, I thought.

And then it was suddenly 1.30pm on Saturday. I entered the stage and looked around the extremely wide hall. Nice. There is a lot of interaction among the audience members and they’re barely paying attention to the guy in the blue suit on stage. This is the moment. ‘Mayflies’ I say firmly and let a silence fall. The room hushed and looked at me inquisitively. Got it! What a lovely moment. And subsequently, the day went - if I do say so myself - smoothly. With well prepared interactions and parts, but also with moments that arose spontaneously. I absolutely revelled in it. And I danced, as befits a moderator. If it’s up to me, I certainly won’t be a mayfly in this business. See you soon!

Mark Huis in ’t Veld
aka That Guy in Blue)

Picture: Timon Studler on Unsplash

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