Delivering CFO Star Quality

This article appears in our Q3 2022 issue of Finance Transformation Magazine. To download the issue, click here

Trish Lynch, News Anchor, Reporter and Moderator, explains the benefits to the CFO of taking a professional media approach to corporate and personal promotion.

I am here to champion the professional moderator. Professional moderators engage live audiences, secure that
winning interview, and get your company noticed, by using their experience of thousands of news interviews, round tables, conferences, and hybrid events to remain unflappable, whatever pressure is thrown at them.

As a news anchor and moderator for the last 29 years, I've covered hundreds of hard-hitting topics and interviewed thousands of people all over the world. I've hosted live events in multiple languages at the United Nations, interviewed politicians, celebrities, death-row inmates, CEOs, and chatted to hundreds of people in the streets to get their perspective on a wide variety of issues.

It's fair to say that I've been there, done that, and bought not just one T-shirt but the entire collection.

My career demands that I secure the story, help communicate opinions clearly, and, above all, that I get the impactful soundbites that will draw viewers in and make it impossible for them not to investigate further.

The job requires a combination of steely resolve, incisive questioning, good humour, experience … and not forgetting a bit of charm!

So, what does a professional moderator bring to an interview?

Information is Power

The pre-interview research and planning that I do are the most important parts of the job - and that applies to online interviews as well. I need to investigate the interviewee's background or credentials and what their areas of expertise might be.

I may read articles they have written, and I think carefully about what they will want to get from the interview. I need to be aware of any no-go topics or sensitive subject areas. And I plan thoroughly as it's all too easy to lose sight of the primary objective of an interview if it has no structure.

Hard work put in before the interview will ensure that I don't waste a single opportunity and get value from every question and every answer.

Prep the Interviewee

I believe that the interviewee should know a few of my questions in advance. I won't tell them everything I plan to ask but it's a good idea to provide a general idea of the key points and the topics that will be covered.

My style is to aim for an element of spontaneity without catching people completely off guard - the interviewee should see me as part of their team and not the opposition.

Eye Contact and Camera Angles

Maintaining eye contact when face-to-face can feel uncomfortable and many interviewees look away. I often break the tension by using small hand gestures, a nod of my head, or even the occasional use of a person's name - all of these allow the interviewee time to collect their thoughts and will stop them from feeling as if they are being interrogated.

Most people are nervous of being interviewed and I may start an interview with a series of short questions to help to put them at their ease - a good moderator will spot the signs of nerves and act accordingly. And my understanding of the use of different camera angles gives your company the opportunity to re-edit and re-use content for different platforms, adding more potential value to the initial interview.

Ask Open-ended Questions

Open-ended questions are ones that encourage the interviewee to say more than just yes or no - these are the Holy Grail for all interviewers. I ask open follow-up questions to gain more insight into a larger topic or to get an emotional share or personal reaction, things that always make an interview more interesting.

For example, 'How did you feel when you were nominated for the lifetime achievement award?' or 'What made you realize you could make a difference?' It's this type of question that will tap into the real person behind the job title.

Stick to the Plan

If I am hosting a conference with virtual delegates, several cameras, and multiple speakers it's vitally important to keep to strict timings. An entire day falls to pieces if a schedule is ignored. It's the job of the moderator to help the speakers to finish on time … and even to usher them nicely from the stage if necessary.

It can feel difficult to move an event along by walking onto the stage while the speaker is in full flow, but a professional moderator will have done this many times and will not be fazed.

Above all, the role of a professional moderator is to take away the stress from your event and to allow you to do what you do best.

About the author: Trish Lynch

As a News Anchor and MC for over 20 years Trish Lynch has reported on hundreds of hard hitting topics and interviewed CEOs, Politicians, and Celebrities alike from around the World. Trish has also been a Moderator for the United Nations and a Reporter on News, Current Affairs and Conferences globally.