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Stress Free Moderating. Before the Event. In good League Tradition, we’re sure you have:. Board adopted criteria Invited all eligible Candidates Found a pro-bono attorney ( JUST in case ) Know the laws. Before the Event…. Before the Event…. Before the Event….

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Presentation Transcript

Before the event
Before the Event

In good League Tradition, we’re sure you have:

  • Board adopted criteria

  • Invited all eligible Candidates

  • Found a pro-bono attorney (JUST in case)

  • Know the laws

Candidate opening statement
Candidate Opening Statement

  • 1-5 minutes (depending on amount of time constraints and number of candidates)

  • Timed opening statements are drawn in lot order

Questions can be
Questions Can Be…

  • Prepared by the League and co-sponsors

  • Submitted in writing at the event and reviewed

  • Asked by the audience from the floor (can limit the time)

  • Asked by a panel of questioners

  • Asked by the candidates of each other

  • Ruled out of order by the moderator

Open cross talk period
Open “Cross-Talk” Period

  • Candidates discuss a given topic or question for a timed period

  • Period may immediately follow a timed question response on that issue

  • Could be used for rebuttal or elaboration

Cumulative Time

  • Candidates are timed as they speak by a timekeeper assigned to them and a cumulative time is kept

  • Can elect to use their time on questions on which they have a particular interest

In this format, there is more open exchange, and candidates can have more give and take on the issues.

Candidates’ Closing Statements

  • 1-5 minutes

  • in drawn lot order

  • reverse order of opening statements

Questions the challenge
Questions: The Challenge

  • Pertinent to the office and the issues

  • Not of a personal nature

  • Not designed to attack a particular candidate

  • Not repetitive or duplicative

  • Asked of all the candidates/ each candidate able to respond

Questions the challenge1
Questions: The Challenge

Guideline for Questions from the Floor:

  • No speech, personal history, editorial or argument

  • Remind long winded questioners about purpose of forum

  • Person should stand, state their names, use a microphone if possible

  • Person should state which candidate is being addressed

  • If all candidates are addressed by the question, rotate the order of answering such questions

  • Encourage precision, brevity, simplicity

  • No repeats until all have had a chance

  • Question is addressed to you, and repeated by you for the candidates

  • May set a time limit per person

You should be
You should be:

  • Absolutely neutral

  • Fair but firm

  • Considerate and respectful of the candidates and the audience.

  • Dignified but relaxed

You should also:

  • Help the candidates to relax; they’re nervous

  • Humor is good - Smile!

  • Be respectful, ………but you’re in charge

  • Be flexible. Things come up

  • The audience is not the enemy or children to be disciplined

  • You are there to serve the public interest, not the candidates, or the media’s interest


  • It’s natural and normal to be nervous

  • Use the energy

  • Deep breaths

  • Focus on the forum, not yourself

  • The audience won’t notice

  • The audience wants you to do well

  • Don’t apologize for your nervousness

  • Imagine two hours from the start


  • Think the entire evening through - from how you’ll dress - on… It helps!

  • Imagine what can go wrong and imagine what you will do

  • Start and finish strong

  • Know what you’re going to say “first”

  • “Act”

    • Posture

    • Demeanor

    • Tone of voice

Be well prepared1
Be Well Prepared

Know the venue!

  • Get there early

  • Plan the space for people and equipment

Be Well Prepared

  • Prepare a script/outline

  • Candidates correspondences

  • Time limits

  • Staffing

  • Timekeeping procedures

  • Know the rules and League policies on no-shows, party participation, stand-ins, etc.

Know the candidates
Know the Candidates

  • Bios

  • Who is/is not participating & why

  • How to pronounce their names, how you will address them

Other Things to Know

  • Know the audience

  • Know the issues

  • Anticipate audience questions

  • Anticipate things that can go wrong

Come early
Come Early!

  • Podium, tables, chairs are set up correctly

  • Timing equipment at visible location

  • Water

  • “League” branding (banners and buttons) well displayed

  • League information and membership materials

  • Name cards for candidates

  • Name tag for you

Meet the candidates
Meet the Candidates

  • Introductions

  • Name pronunciation and titles

  • Review the rules, time limits and timing procedures

  • Draw lots (or you can do this in front of the audience)

Dealing with media
Dealing with Media

  • Any special needs

  • Remember to promote the League

You are not operating in the interest of the media

Be media savvy
Be Media Savvy

  • Understand FCC guidelines.

  • Media Deadlines

  • Videotape can only be shown it its entirety


If you’re working with a sponsoring organization or as a co-sponsor:

  • You might want to share the introduction and wrap-up

  • Agree on the time allotments on content

Welcoming remarks
Welcoming Remarks

TOOT YOUR HORN! Ask people to join. Tell your story.

  • Non-partisanship

  • Introductions

  • Statement about the office for which the candidates are running

  • Statement about the race (how many candidates, for what term, what it takes to win)

  • Statement about what candidates are not participating and why

  • Statement about how to vote in this election (when, where, how, absentee voting)

  • Introduction of the candidates (names, not bio)


  • Format

  • Time limit(s)

  • Order of presentation

  • Questions and questioning procedure

  • Audience behavior

  • Total expected elapsed time

  • Introduction of each candidate for his/her opening statements

  • Questions/Answers/Discussion

  • Introduction of each candidate for closing statements

  • Wrap-up and Closure

    • Statement of broadcast schedule if relevant

    • Encourage the audience to encourage others to vote

    • Invite people to join/support the League

    • Close the meeting, and/or hand it back over to the sponsor

    • “Thank you notes”

Maintaining control
Maintaining Control statements

  • Meet with the candidates - format and rules

  • State the rules for the audience

    • Applause

    • Electioneering

    • Asking questions

  • Maintain access & control of the microphone

  • Microphone for audience needs monitor

  • Watch the time keeper’s signals and interrupt if necessary!

  • You have the right to:

    • Call for a recess

    • Adjourn the meeting if it gets out of control

    • Call for security to remove a disorderly person

Handling Situations statements

What do you do when…

What do you do when… statements

  • Candidates that go over time

  • Candidates that get obstreperous

  • Disruptions/Hecklers

  • Audiences that get unruly

  • Questions that are really an attack

What do you do when… statements

  • Questioners that want to argue with a candidate

  • Questioners that want to make a speech

  • Repetitive Record Questions

  • People demand to see the questions afterwards

After the debate
After the Debate statements

Here are some ideas
Here are some ideas! statements

  • Thank you notes

  • Follow up on sign-ins with membership information

  • Press release -broadcast schedules

  • Evaluate what worked

  • What you could do better?

Other resources
Other Resources statements

LWVUS Website:

  • Face to Face: A Guide to Candidate Debates,

  • FAQs on Debates,

  • Candidate Participation Legal Guidance and

  • Sample Script

  • Debate Watching Party Tips

    LWVMA Website:

  • Moderator’s Handbook: LWVM

    LWVNY Website:

  • Road to the Voting Booth: Part II

    Government Websites (FCC, IRS, FEC)

More Questions? statements

Email LWVUS Board Members: