moderation and facilitation
There is one thing that is important for any meeting or event. Be it online, offline or hybrid.
That one thing is the moderation or facilitation.
To put it in other words, there is no gathering of people in whatever way, that would not benefit from a good and skilled moderation or facilitation.
The moderator/facilitator is the one holding the strings, setting the tone, controlling the time, working towards the solutions, avoiding misunderstandings and offering structure. All that among other things.
But let’s go slow on the tasks and analyze what moderation actually means.
It goes back to the Latin word of “moderare” = exercise moderation. Avoiding excess or extremes.
This is the core of it. When we interact with other people, we express our believes and opinions. These might not be the ones from the other participants. Communication is very complicated and a lot of times we create misunderstandings, which make it harder to achieve consensus.
For that reason, there has to be someone that prepares the meeting, creates an atmosphere of understanding, is neutral and has the ability to work towards achieving the objectives.
Any meeting or event can benefit from a moderator/facilitator.
The main tasks and skills she or he should have, would be defining and articulating the objectives of the meeting, designing a workflow, organizing the meeting, presenting the topic, leading the discussion, removing ambiguity, as well as visualizing and documenting the results.
These tasks make it clear, that this person has to be someone neutral and not in conflict with any of the other participants. Best if she/he is not even within the same hierarchy than the others. Any conflicting situation should be avoided. This gives the moderator/facilitator the best position to neutrally listen and lead.
Of course, we know the moderation/facilitation from many face-to-face meetings, events and workshops. In online and hybrid meetings the same structure applies. These meetings and events also need one or more moderators/facilitators to conduct them efficiently.
When we reduce the layers of communication by talking and chatting through technological means, the role of the moderator/ facilitator becomes even more important, as the possibilities of misunderstanding one another significantly increase.
Finding and involving a good moderator/facilitator is crucial, to ensure your success!
Try it! You will see how it works!