MedStartr Clubhouse Moderator Training

Thanks to the input from the many amazing Moderators of rooms in the MedStartr Healthcare Innovators Club on Clubhouse, the below compendium of the Moderator Tips and Tricks has been assembled.  Great job MedModSquad!  To see the events we have scheduled please visit MedStartr.Club or join us on the Discord Server for a deeper discussion in the Moderation Tips Section (you can also post your own!)  We also posted a second version of the tips by Roland Da Silva here.

So let’s get this out of the way first:

What is Clubhouse?

Clubhouse is a new voice-only app for iPhone that is the fastest growing app in the app store.  With over 20 million users, up from 600,000 in December, it has been a great way to connect to the global innovation community.  It has been an excellent way to grow the global MedStartr Healthcare Innovation community.  Every day there are 6-20 hours of discussions on myriad topics in healthcare innovation.  We believe if we can drive the conversations, this will facilitate learning, connection, collaboration, and the creation of the future of medicine together.  In addition to moderation methods, you will also get some of our MedStartr philosophy here too 🙂

MedStartr Moderator Tips and Tricks

The MedStartr Logo represents all stakeholders holding hands, collaborating to create the future of care.

-1. Pre-Rooming – We generally recommend arriving a few minutes early with your team and using the “+” button at the bottom to “Ping” people into the room.  We also recommend you suggest your audience and team does this too.  Have some pregame discussion.  People who are there early like this inside, “pre-game” show.  You can also search for certain types of people who you follow and follow you to join.  The search option scans all profile words and is very useful in driving the conversation with the right people.

0. Starting the Room – Usually on the actual start time we “set the room” with a full intro, explain how the room will work, set rules and expectations and then go on to intros or the show as planned.

1. Be Inclusive – Include all stakeholders. In healthcare this starts with patients and people who need or want care, continues to the care providers, everyone from environmental services to home care providers, to nurses and doctors. Next are the partners from large companies that want to invest in and get new ideas into their portfolios – these companies like Merck, Pfizer, Aetna, Remedy, B Braun, Medtronic, Abbvie, Dexcom, Bayer, Takeda, and all self-insured employers. Last, but not least are the institutions, from government organizations to h+Hospitals and Associations. By having all four primary stakeholders engaged in conversations people can connect, collaborate, and create the future of medicine better and faster. We know, we have been running events like we have been running on clubhouse since 2008 and it has made a tremendous difference! Also, don’t forget to also include investors and the startups themselves. Be inclusive, everyone has something important to say and everyone is listening.  See the MedStartr Logo – it is the four stakeholders holding hands to connect, collaborate and create the future of medicine together.

2. Be Respectful – Treat others as you would like to be treated

3. Be Diverse – Include people from all races, genders, religions,… without exception. Underrepresented peoples go first

4. Have a ModSquad – We have a saying around here that “Friends don’t let friends moderate alone” and it is true, we highly recommend you develop a moderation team or “ModSquad”.  We also recommend you make a “backchannel” to discuss the rooms and shows you do before, during and after the show.  During a show it is best to assign roles such as “Host” or main emcee, “Security” or Troll Watching, “Recruitment” Crowd Surfing to find great people and inviting them up, “Introducer” someone who reads profiles and introduces people in exciting ways, Notetaker (preferably on a shared server like our Discord Server) and Backup Host.  You can also take shifts in each role for longer rooms.  Don’t have a squad yet?  Ask and you will receive.  If you find interesting folks passionate about the same topic, invite them to help moderate or take that conversation offline.

5. Be Ready For Connection – Fill out your profiles with ways to be communicated with such as Twitter and Instagram.  Make sure your DMs are open too.  The sign of a great room is your DMs are full of great offers and opportunities but this can’t happen if you are not ready.  Be Ready!

6. KYS/ Playing Favorites – Know Your Stage (KYS) – read everyone’s profiles and act accordingly. While everyone does get a chance to speak, some people deserve more.  So if you know you have a really great expert in any area and you have a question for her or him, don’t be afraid to ask them specifically to respond and make sure you express appreciation for their time.

7. Be Brief – Have great respect for your audience’s time and be as brief as possible without being abrupt or rude.  Do not repeat yourself as people are generally either totally listening or not at all.  Repeating yourself will annoy one group and be useless for the other.  In other words, try to be as succinct as possible 🙂

8. Listen Closely – Great Moderation, especially being the “Host” or the main talking moderator, required complete and undivided attention.  You need to be fully present.  If you can not be, you need to hand off the Host role for times when you can’t be fully present.

9. Be Self Aware – Listen to yourself and make sure you are projecting what you think you are.  If you are not sure, ask your fellow moderators.

10. Room Reseting – Make sure you “reset the room” every 20 minutes or so or whenever it is disrupted.  This is just a basic overview of what the goal of the room is.  A good reset includes that, a mention of the club, any announcements, and calls on the next speaker or topic.  You can also summarize points made, “put a pin in a topic” or control disturbances.

11. Crowd Surfing – One of the co-moderator roles is reviewing who is in the crowd and bringing people up, but all moderators should do this when they can.  Simply click on folks and if they seem like they could be a great addition to the conversation, select the “Invite to speak” function.  Most people are a little shy, especially those who are new to clubhouse or public speaking, so sometimes they need a little encouragement.  Calling out people from the stage by name is considered intrusive or rude, but you can speak to aspects of the profiles.  So for example, “I just invited a hospital leader we would love to hear from to the stage, hopefully they will join us.”

11. Be Extra Kind to Party Hats – Folks who are new to clubhouse will have a party hat 🎉 in the bottom left side of their image.  Be extra nice to these people.  Make sure you invite them to speak and cut them some slack if they don’t seem to behave as you expect.

12.a. Dealing with Problems: People who go off-topic or hog the mic – Not often, but sometimes people will take the conversation in different directions if you let them.  This is fine for some types of rooms, but if you are trying to run a moderated discussion on a specific topic, you will need to learn how to deal with this issue.  We find it is best to assume that the person is unaware that they are doing something wrong – and even if they are aware of it, the same method works.  We recommend gently interrupting, sometimes with humor, complimenting or thanking the person for their point of view and then easing them back into the appropriate topic.  So for example, you might ask if they would like to comment on the topic of the room or the most recent question.  If they continue to be a problem, try again a little more firmly or even more kindly.  We find extreme politeness coupled with a commitment to the goal to be a best practice in such situations.  To see this in action we highly recommend seeking out Dr Romie Mushtaq for a demonstration of her “Indian Auntie” technique.  If all else fails, there is always the option of muting them and /or removing them from the stage or room.  We almost never have had to do that, except in cases like….

12.b. Dealing with Problems: Trolls – An unfortunate aspect of a successful room on clubhouse is that they often attract what people call trolls. Trolls like to interrupt or ask totally irrelevant questions.  Fortunately, they are very easy to deal with.  Firstly, we recommend that you and your co-hosts do not let them up on stage.  Screen the people who raise their hands.  If you see a blank profile with few followers, no social media connections and the person who nominated them to clubhouse is the same, then they are probably a troll.  Don’t let them up and tell people that if they want to be allowed onto the stage they should complete their profiles.  If you or one of your co-moderators does let them up click on their icon and be ready to remove them from the stage.  We also recommend reporting them, but they often disappear quickly.

12.c. Dealing with Problems: Mic Hogs – People who ramble on forever, even on topic, should be gently asked to summarize or get to a point.  You can also ask them to limit their comments to one point instead of a whole thesis.  Remind the room as well that you want an inclusive conversation and that there are people waiting to speak.

13. Use your Image / PTR instructions – A fun way to express yourself on the platform is to change your profile picture.  This is easy to do, just click your image three times and pick a pic.  You can use this to show information or just to have fun, like suggesting everyone PTR’s with pet pictures, their favorite EMR, or their product (especially good for people pitching!)

14. Smile and have fun – There are thousands of rooms going on at all times on clubhouse so people have choices of where they spend their time.  Your audience isn’t just there to learn and participate, but also to be entertained and have fun.  If you are having fun and if this is obvious to the audience, they will stay and join in and be more engaged.  While no one can see you, try having a mirror handy and make sure you are smiling.  It has been shown that doing so will improve how people perceive you, even if they can’t see you!

15. Summarize and reset – Every 20 minutes or so we recommend you reset the room.  Mention the topic and club and how to get more information (like for the schedule or to visit the Discord server for more information for MedStartr rooms.

16. Size Matters / Room awareness –  Keep an eye on the total audience members.  Sometimes if you have an out of control speaker, your room will empty out.  This can be a signal that it is time to redirect the conversation.  On the other hand…

17. Size Doesn’t Always Matter – If you are having a great conversation, don’t worry too much about room size.  It all depends on your goals for the room.

18. Build your Team and Audience – One of your goals might be to develop a regular “Show” on the topic.  If this is the case, we recommend that you build a team of moderators.  Be welcoming for other voices and reach out and ask if people who are helpful if they want to be involved on a regular basis.  Also say things like, “If you are interested in this topic and like our show, please follow the moderators and the club so you are informed when we schedule our next show!”

19. Respect The Moderator / Host Role – There is usually one main moderator at a time, or “Host”.  This role can be passed around but it is usually a goo didea to defer to the Host and not to have conflict among the moderators.  Similarly, as the Host, you should always make sure to respect and hear out your moderation team members when they are mic flashing.

20. What type of Room do you want? – There are many types of rooms.  Here are a few:
Hyper Inclusive with Intros – these are good for fun and starting a new topic to develop a crowd.  You let everyone come up and introduce themselves.  We usually recommend that people raise a topic or answer a question after a brief intro and then allow the rest of the room to comment on the answer or statement until it runs out, and then return to PTR order.  PTR order is the order of appearance on the stage from the top left after PTR.  Note, the order changes a little over time.
Interview Style – usually if you have a well known or special guest, you would interview them for 20-45 minutes and then invite up questions from the audience.  You can turn off Hand Raising to reduce the distraction in the interview period.
Q & A Style – Similar to the above but you bring in experts and then open up the floor to questions, bring people up and move back down to the audience.  Some people do this three at a time.
Popcorn Style – Often you will have many experts and great voices on stage.  In these cases it is often ideal to use “Popcorn” style which means that once a topic is brought up, all can join in.  It is important to establish rules of who gets to speak next.  See the Mic Flashing section below for that.
Happy Hours – Fun rooms, but be careful as these can often be difficult to run.  We recommend having a strong Moderation Team.
Game Shows – There are many well hosted game show style rooms on clubhouse.  We run one on Fridays called “It’s Friday pitches” every week.  In these we set the rules and have minimal intros of our panels.  You can set any rules you like, especially if the show is popular!
Recorded – Same as any of the above, but include the red dot 🔴 and word “Recorded” in the title.  You also need to verbally inform everyone that the event is being recorded regularly.

21. Mic Flashing – One of the few ways to communicate on clubhouse is by flashing your mic.  Here are a few ways that is done:
Slow Mic Flashing – Indicates you have something to say.  If two people are mic flashing and want to go next we recommend that the person who has spoken less gets to go next.  If that is not clear enough, then the female goes next.  Last, the more polite person speaks second 🙂  The next speaker keep their mic open until the current speaker stops and the second next speaker will stay muted.  As the moderator you can adjudicate and tell folks the order as needed.
Faster Mic Flashing – Showing support for what someone is saying.  We also use this for voting in our contests.
Double Mic Flash – Tells people to PTR without interrupting the conversation.

22. Advanced Intros – One of the best ways to respect the people who come to the stage and control the amount of time spent in introductions is to introduce them yourself.  Just read the salient points of their bio with enthusiasm and maybe ask a question.

23. Be Gracious – As the Moderator or Host you should be gracious at all times.  Even if you go “Shock Jock” style, rudeness is never a good style.

24. Be Structured – Have a plan for how long the room will go and how it will be run and explain that to your team and audience every 40 minutes or so.  As you progress through the show, keep people posted on what is coming next too.

25. Be Focused – Moderating is a 100% attention requiring activity.  If you can not do that, make sure you hand the Host Mic over as needed, even on the fly during an event.  This is what your Moderation Team is for!  You also should probably turn off notifications on your phone and put it in Do Not Disturb mode, especially if you are recording!

26. Be Prepared – The best rooms and shows are the result of great planning.  You don’t have to script everything, but you should have a list of questions, confirm speakers, and bring in special guests.

27. Text To Speech / Disability Sensitivity – Because people are using the app that have different ways of listening, not all will be able to see the screen or read in a transcript to know who is speaking.  Addressing this is simple.  Simply say “I am (insert name) and I am done speaking” at the end of your statements.  As a Moderator you can explain this, although most people on CH are aware of this now.

28. Moderator’s Perogative – Remember that you are in control and can redirect the conversation as you see fit.  When you do this just remind folks that you are serving the greater interest of the room and refocus it as needed.

29. To Close or Not To Close – Early on we often ran 5-hour or even 3-day rooms.  Now we have learned that the conversation will always be available later as well so we usually shut rooms down after a few hours.  This reduces FOMO and allows the moderators to be focused and learn directly.  On the other hand, you can also do what we call “Second Phase Play” where you hand the Host role on.  If the room is going strong, this can be a good strategy too.

30. Ending a room – Make sure you turn off the lights when you leave.  Tell people when the next show is, invite suggested topic for the next week, thank everyone and play some music or just do a count down.  Hit the Elipses … up top and select the “End Room” option.

We hope this listing of moderator tips and tricks is helpful.  If you have more to add please post them on the discord.


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