The Art of Moderating a Room on Clubhouse
Moderating on Clubhouse is so complex, it’s often too much for one person to handle. In addition to selecting speakers from the audience, a good moderator must also actively conduct the conversation — which gets complicated in rooms that may have a dozen or more speakers. “A great moderator keeps the conversation brisk and moving forward,” says artist Drue Kataoka, a regular moderator on Clubhouse. “Sluggish rooms are small rooms.”
For this reason, the job is often split up among multiple people. Kataoka recommends partnering with people you trust, to make decisions fast. “Assign clear roles ahead of time,” she says. “Moderator #1 can take an emcee role. Moderator #2 can be in charge of guest relations, ushering up VIPs and scouting the room for both invited and spontaneous guests who fit well. Moderator #3 can be a ‘bouncer,’ immediately removing people from the stage who should no longer be there and muting guests who are creating audio feedback with their mics.” Because Clubhouse has no direct-message functionality, moderators often coordinate through Instagram or Twitter DM.
Here’s a common problem in a room: An audience member is promoted to speaker, invited to ask a question, and then opens with a lengthy introduction about themselves and their company. “There is no body language, so your voice can go on and on uninterrupted, and five minutes can seem like forever,” says investor and adviser Kat Cole, former COO and president of Focus Brands. How can a moderator stop this? Experienced ones will introduce a new speaker themselves (even just by reading it off their bio) so that when it’s the new speaker’s turn to speak, they get to the point. Or a moderator can be even more proactive. “If it’s a more intimate format, I ask people to put their questions in their bio,” says Cole. Then she can read it ahead of time.
Another great moderator practice is to “reset the room” every 20 minutes or so. That’s Clubhouse terminology for speaking two or three sentences that explain the room. “It’s important because new listeners have no context, and they’re always flowing in,” Kataoka says. “If those listeners are confused, they’ll leave.”