Investing in meeting-moderation doesn’t necessarily mean getting a moderator on stage. Moderation and a moderator are two completely different things: a moderator is an individual, moderation is a holistic approach; it’s an attitude.
That’s why moderation should be thought of as far more than just the question of if there should be a moderator on stage. Effective moderation is about having everything and everyone add to this facilitation style, in order to make the meeting successful. The most important elements are:
The room you execute your meeting in, is crucial to the effect on the objective. So, this is the first step in the moderation of the day.
If you want to challenge people, find yourself a venue that challenges the mind. Find something that underlines the message of the meeting, because the general characteristics of the venue are crucial to successful moderation.
Interaction is not easy to stimulate in a classical theatre style setting, with someone speaking from a high, distant stage. An open view to the world will open up people’s minds, so be sure there are plenty of windows if you want that to happen.
The effect of sound, light, etc. is largely underestimated. How are you supposed to interact, if you can hardly see the other people in the room? Then why so often is there only light on stage leaving the rest of the room in gloom? Ensure your lighting, sound, and overall general AV equipment is up to par.
From the perspective of moderation, catering is so much more than delegates not being hungry. Food and drink should not only be about ‘good taste’, but also about helping participants perform well.
If a buffet is cheaper, but a proper dinner will get you higher ROI, what will you choose? If you combine the coffee break with a small group assignment, you combine benefits of people getting a drink, participants moving around to stay fresh and getting people to interact. And finally: a Family Style Dinner, where people help each other make salad could do wonders in terms of networking.
To the moderator the task is to make the right choice in tone, pace and style. To you the important choice is to find the right moderator: the one with the right skills, but even more important, the right personality.
Moderation is crucial to the success of a meeting, since it is at the heart of the execution of meeting design and ROI. Designing moderation into every detail takes more then just hiring a moderator. It means looking at every aspect that will make the road to the objectives easier and more effective.