Useful Phrases for Moderators and Facilitators

Written by
Franziska Kohn
February 22, 2022

Moderators and facilitators play a crucial role in the success of online workshops and events. They create the atmosphere, make sure participants feel welcomed, keep the time and the discussions on focus and create clarity for everyone joining. 

It all sounds simple enough - and when you see an experienced moderator in action, it can look like a piece of cake. Yet if you don’t have a lot of experience in the moderation spotlight, having the attention and responsibility on you can be daunting. Especially if you haven’t thought through how you want the pivotal moments to go: the welcome, the transitions, the challenging moments when a speaker has more to say than their allocated time, or when technical problems arise. That’s why we have put together this list of go-to phrases for each step of the process. 

1) Opening

Welcome to …..

We are happy that so many of you chose to join us for this event.

It’s great to see so many familiar faces. Welcome again to our event …

Good morning/good afternoon/good evening, thank you for joining our session on.... . 

If it is an international event, you can also mention the different time zones and countries present to make it feel more welcoming. You can also acknowledge and thank participants for joining early or late,e.g. And a special thank you to our colleagues joining from XY who had to get up early/stay awake for so long…

2) Closing

Unfortunately, time flies when we are having fun. And it’s time now to come to an end. 


I am afraid I am going to have to wrap up this lively discussion/event now. 


Please bear with me, our time is up and we will have to say goodbye now. 


Thanks a lot to all the great speakers and audience for being part of this lively event. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Please stay in touch, take the opportunity to connect to your colleagues, enjoy your evening and I/we hope to see you again. 


What an interesting and diverse group! Our session is coming to an end. If you have any further questions or comments, please post them in the chat. We will try to answer them afterwards.  


We are closing just in time, very efficient and effective! Thank you very much for your participation and interesting remarks and questions.  


Tip: For smaller workshops or groups: if you realise you are running out of time and would need 5 more minutes, announce it 10 minutes before the planned end and ask the participants if they are able to stay a few minutes longer, and thank those who have to leave on time. 


Tip: if you finish earlier than expected, then you finish earlier. 

We have come to the end of our planned agenda, 5 minutes early. If there are no further questions or remarks (briefly pause), we will wrap it up here and enjoy an extra few minutes. Thank you for joining us and have a great rest of your day.

3) Summarising 


So, to briefly sum up: my key takeaways were….. 


Now I am curious to hear what you are taking with you. Take a few moments to reflect for yourself and then:

  • I will invite you to raise your digital hand and share
  • I will invite everyone to post it in the chat 
  • I would be happy to hear a few reflections from your side.


Before I share my key takeaways, I am curious to hear what showed up for you. I invite you to go to the chat and share one thing that surprised you, or that you think your colleagues who couldn’t join today should know as well. 


Keeping an eye on the time as there are only a few minutes left, I would invite you to share one word/three words which are present for you now and which you will take with you from this session – no explanation needed.  


Now that we have gathered all your input, let me quickly summarise the discussion/the main findings.  


Three points stand out for me from our discussion…  And I am also curious to hear what stood out for you in case a couple of people would like to add. 


Before we close, let me do a quick recap of our session.


Let me quickly recap yesterday’s session/discussion. 


4) Transitioning 


So, coming back to our agenda, we are now halfway through. After xxx we will continue with xxx. For this I want to welcome / invite ….. 

Thank you, Mr/Ms XY, for your great points. I would like to highlight… This is a great transition to our next speaker who… (e.g., also works in this field, has done some research on this topic…). 

Thank you very much for your input. We are now opening the floor for discussion, so please share your questions in the chat (or raise your hand). We already have some questions in the chat and from these questions we want to start with… 


Thank you for these insights on the topic. To open the discussion I have a question for our panelists … 


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5) Breaks 


Please enjoy your break of xx minutes, feel invited to get up and away from the screen, get some water or coffee, open the window to get some fresh air and stretch your body. You can switch off your camera while on the break. Post end time or length of break as a message in the chat. 


Please remain here in the meeting and do not log off as we have to set up breakout rooms during the break. You can switch off your microphone and camera. 


We would ask you to be back at xx sharp as we have a tight program and will start right away with the next input.  


Please be back:

  • At xx 
  • In xx minutes 
  • At quarter past/to the hour (for meetings covering several time zones). 


We are looking forward to hearing your questions for a Q&A / joint discussion / … right after the break.  


Welcome back. Please switch on your camera or let us know you are back by giving us a digital thumbs up (you can also ask people to post favourite emojis in the chat). We will wait for another minute for everyone to arrive.  


I hope you had a good break and could move a bit and leave your chair. If you did not yet, feel invited to briefly stretch your body, move your shoulders and arms,…. until the others arrive. Ok, it looks good now, so I would say let’s continue.


Welcome back! As I shared before we have a tight program, so we will dive right in and continue with xyz.  


6) (Technical) Problems 


As you can see, we are currently experiencing some technical issues. We will try and solve them as quickly as we can. 


There is always something and currently it is ... 

For small groups: I have a technical problem. XY is not working. Does anyone have an idea about how to solve this? Can anyone here help me out?


In the meantime, you have the chance to have a look at the chat and answer the following question… 


@IT person: Please assist me in solving this XY problem.  

We will try our best to support as much as we can.

Tip: Don’t try to ignore or hide technical challenges as people notice anyway. 

Tip: Sometimes it’s helpful to recognise that you cannot solve every IT challenge.

7) Interrupting people 


Thanks for your input, I really liked your statement on XY and wanted to also give XY / the others the chance to contribute / share as well (hand over to next speaker / come back to the agenda). 


We have a tight agenda/schedule, which is why I would now like to hand over to our next speaker.  


May I ask you to come to an end. We have more areas/questions/speakers to cover ... 


I am sorry, I will have to jump in here. As I mentioned in the beginning, my job is to keep us on track, and right now we are losing track of time/our issue/ … 


Interesting point / input, we can come back to this later in the discussion / we can explore it further during the Q&A.  


Tip: It can be helpful to agree on a signal beforehand.


8) Other useful phrases  

Please excuse and correct me in case I mispronounce your name. We are a really international group, so please bear with me if I mispronounce your name and please correct me.


You will receive the presentation slides …. / You can access the slides via …. 


Yes, we can hear you. Yes, we can see your screen.  


Please mute yourself as we can hear some background sound/ we hear an echo. 


There was some background sound, so I went ahead and muted everyone.


If you are interested in further information, please visit the website XXX. I have posted it in the chat.


For those who have issues with their acoustic system, turn off your video and activate the subtitles in MS teams. My technical assistant XXX will support you with it.  


Is this a legacy hand (i.e. they forgot to lower their digital hand) or a new one? 


Additional tip:

In your session plan you can also include useful sentences to share in the chat, so you do not have to write them over and over again, e.g. for the breaks: Please be back at hh:mm/in x min. 

These phrases were created and compiled together with Ute Lange and participants from our Digital Facilitation and Moderation Training with GIZ. To learn more about our trainings and conceptualisation of efficient and engaging events, click here

About the author
Co-founder of Unity Effect. Conceptualisation and facilitation of interactive online events, workshops and learning series. Passionate about personal development and leadership.
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