After watching the first GOP Debate on TV, I was struck at the lack of skill of some the moderators. These are professional broadcast journalists and you would think their public speaking training in front of the camera would be evident.
Here are three mistakes a professional moderator should avoid:
1. Grammatical Errors. One of the male moderators actually said, "Was wrote" instead of "Was written." Don't they teach grammar in school anymore? It made him sound uneducated and I wondered how he was selected for this position. It takes more than good looks to moderate a television debate. He lost credibility.
2. Citing an Opinion or Irrelevant Remarks. A professional moderator asks provocative questions but doesn't make remarks like one of the moderators did tonight. Governor Perry said that in his first day in office he'd need a bottle of white out to erase all the executive orders of the previous administration and it would be a long day. The moderator quipped, "Yes, that would be a long day". There was no reason to comment. This is not a one-on-one discussion. The moderator is not there to validate the candidate. The goal is to stay neutral.
3. Not Getting to the Point. A female moderator didn't seem to understand the difference between asking a question and giving a speech. She delivered a lead in of about three sentences before she posed the actual question. We don't need background information. Just ask the question! Not only is this frustrating to the audience, but it signals that the moderator is not a clear thinker or communicator. It's a communication style of a novice.
The good news is you don't have to fear public speaking. If professional broadcasters are making these mistakes you don't have to worry that you'll derail on the platform. Learn from their mistakes and keep these points in mind whenever you're the moderator or a public speaker.