Interaction starts at the entrance

We’ve often seen topics at about the role of moderators. They are an important element in your event. Today I am zooming in on the interaction with the public together with Frans Miggelbrink.

Kevin Van der Straeten
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We’ve often seen topics at about the role of moderators. They are an important element in your event. Today I am zooming in on the interaction with the public together with Frans Miggelbrink.


Hi Frans. Welcome to our studio.


Kevin. Thanks for the invitation.


Today we’re going to talk about interaction with an audience. How important is that for you?


For me it is I think the main thing. Don’t hire me, if you don’t want interaction, because the interaction, I'm always looking for the interaction and what kind of event do we have?


Where do you start with that? How do you make sure that there is interaction?


The first moment you see your guests. They park and there's a tuktuk to bring them to the room where it is, then you have the interaction already. Don’t sit in a tuktuk, like... and say… Hello!That’s the first moment. The guy or the girl is coming to an event and you say: hi, here is the entrance, come in, hello, how are you? I prefer to go to the entrance. I'm always at the entrance.When the people come in I'm there.


Already, you are the host of the show and you are already at the entrance?


Yeah, because when people come on, there's always a little bit of difference. There are people on stage, they’re sending the information that people come in, they take it. But if you’re at the entrance, we have equality. So if we become friends at the entrance you will be friends for all the day. So I'm always at the entrance when people come in, give hands and say hi, I'm glad you're here. I'm glad you took the invitation to come over and to drive two hours to come to this place.


Okay. But then suddenly you are on stage, what are the dos and don’ts when you're there to get the audience in the mood?


Talk to them. Try to figure out who’s the audience. Don’t start without making an atmosphere. A lot of people start talking: ladies and gentlemen,good morning. I always start talking before that. I ask the guy behind the buttons, put on my mikejust five minutes before, when I give a sign. So I start talking to people, so people hear me talking: okay, I'm glad you're here, where’re you from, glad you're here, have you had a good journey? What time you woke up this morning to come here? And people… they're still talking to each other but then they’re building…


You actually go into the audience and ask those questions?


Yeah. I always have done. Mostly with mike and headset. And you start talking to the people who are in. You're not on stage, you're between the audience. So you don’t start the event on stage, you start the event between the audience.


That's less official.


I'm from an area, where I live in Holland, where we don’t like suits, where we don’t like, you know... How do you say that?




No, I mean, that I'm more important than you are.


Ah, the blue and the white collar.


Yeah. So when we come home from work we take off our suits, we go to have a beer. That’s my approach, at every event. That’s the way I do it.


Become friends with the audience.


Become friends. Become friends with the people on stage, become friends with the minister, become friends with the mayor, whatever, whoever is there. And that helps you to get the audience talk with you, if you want interaction. But it is always good for the atmosphere, what kind of event you have. Every event you have.


And what do you do with... Sometimes there are people who don’t like interaction. They just want to sit and listen and learn and they're not eager to speak themselves.


Don’t push it too hard. You know, now it looks like you really have to… come on everybody, interaction! No don’t push it too hard. But give it the atmosphere that they have the possibility to do. Because people are not used to stand up in a big crowd and say something. So if you make more the atmosphere like a family party, then people will be quicker to stand up and say something. Or just sit and say something. You don’t have to stand up every time.


And the atmosphere, that's the role of the moderator, the host, to make sure of that?


Always. Always. The moderator is responsible for the atmosphere, from the beginning ‘til the end. Absolutely. And if the atmosphere is horrible, then you did not do your job.


But that takes some craftsmanship I suppose. Because that’s not an easy role to fulfil.


No, it isn’t. And that’s the reason why it’s so much... Technically events are really boring, you know?


Yeah, most of them.


Nothing is happening! No interaction. Sometimes they use a cube and throw it in the audience and you may say: yeah, I agree. And throw it back and that’s it.


But you only have a few minutes in between speakers, is that enough time to create an atmosphere?


No, because the main thingis in the beginning. The first ten minutes of the day are the most important. Then you have to build on those first ten minutes and then make your day. Then you make event, then you make atmosphere. The first moment... The same with the girl you meet for the first time…


The first impression, That’s the same. On an event, that’s the same for the MC guy. If you think: oh that’s a horrible host, oh,we have to spend eight hours with this guy.




Terrible, yeah!


Are there also things you can’t do as a moderator?


Oh yeah. But I don’t know what. Because every event has his own circumstances. So I don’t know. Everything’s possible.


What I do see sometimes is, hosts trying to be the star of the show.


Oh, that’s what you mean. Don’t. Don’t! Don’t try to be funnierthan the guy you are interviewing. Don’t use your wisecracks. If there's humor coming into an event, then the humor is coming from your guest. Not from you. You have to make the nice atmosphere. But if there's a joke coming from your guest, you can help him to place the joke, or to make it a better joke. That’s your role. Your role is not... You're always trying to get the best circumstances for the event. And not that one is saying after the event: oh, that was a funny guy. No, the event was funny.


You're like the glue of the event, but not the star yourself.




Okay, France, thank you very much for sharing your knowledge on the subject.


Kevin, thank you.


And you at home, thank you for watching our show. I hope to see you next week.