Moderation techniques: how to lead discussions successfully

Mastering facilitation techniques

Moderation techniques: How to lead through meetings and conferences!

Being the facilitator in a meeting is not always a thankful or easy task. But this position is enormously important to ensure that discussions are structured and that the meeting is efficient. With various moderation techniques, you can structure meetings better, enforce a clear flow and encourage participants to make better contributions to the discussion.

What is the role of the moderator in the meeting

If a meeting is held without a moderator, discussions often go in circles, are unnecessarily time-consuming and do not lead to any results. The moderator uses targeted moderation techniques not only to ensure that participants don’t cut each other off, but also that they get to the point more quickly. The moderator must therefore bring several qualities to the table:

  • Assertiveness: The facilitator must be respected by all meeting participants, and must maintain authority and be heard even in heated discussions.
  • Organizational skills: As a moderator, you need to keep track of the individual agenda items and structure the meeting accordingly.
  • Neutrality: Moderators are not active meeting participants themselves, but their task is to guide the discussion. You must therefore withhold your own opinion and treat every opinion expressed equally.
  • Ability to concentrate: Throughout the meeting, the moderator, like the minute-taker, must give their full attention to the topics and discussions of the meeting.

Different facilitation techniques for a successful meeting

At this point we have compiled various moderation methods for you. Not every one is equally suitable for every meeting. Depending on the nature and goal of the meeting, different facilitation techniques may come into play.

Moderation techniques to get to know each other

In events where interaction is a central element, but the participants are largely strangers to each other, methods of getting to know each other are important. This may be the case, for example, in workshops or meetings with new employees. In the so-called Group mirror, a large table that is clearly visible to all, each participant can enter their name, department and activity as soon as they enter the meeting room. However, this type of presentation is not very communicative. A short Self-presentation in a few sentences is much more open and can also make one or two participants less inhibited about speaking in front of the group. Also a Expectation poll at the beginning creates a communicative environment. At the same time, the moderator learns what the participants expect from the event. Expectations can not only be presented orally but also put in writing.

Different questioning techniques

Meetings, workshops and conferences live on discussions and exchange of opinions. To steer the course of the conversation, the moderator can use different questioning techniques:

  • Open questions Are ideal for stimulating discussion. The question is asked in a way that does not limit the answer options. Should still be phrased in a specific and purposeful manner; z.B. "What measures should be taken in your department in order to better structure the work processes?"
  • Closed questions can only be answered with "yes" or "no" or another concretely given option and are suitable for bringing a discussion to a close and making a final decision.
  • Targeted questions Drive solution finding by asking specifically about responsibilities or expertise; z.B. "Who already has knowledge in this area??"
  • Reflective questions This helps to bring the point of a longer speech to the point; z.B. "So you are of the opinion that…?"
  • Alternative questions breaks up deadlocked discussions by directly asking for alternatives or other views.

moderation techniques to control the meeting

The moderator’s task is not only to give the floor to the participants. leads and directs the meeting. The best and easiest way to steer a meeting is to use the Active listening. Give your full attention to the person who is speaking, maintain eye contact, and respond, for example, to the person who is speaking. by nodding or asking questions afterwards.

Another important moderation technique is the regular Summarize. A conclusion should not be drawn only at the end of the meeting. Content discussed and decisions made should be summarized after each point of discussion. In this way, all participants retain an overview, can be sure that their point of view has been heard and, incidentally, you make the work of the minute-taker easier.

At the end of the meeting, a short feedback round can’t hurt either. This doesn’t have to be a sprawling discussion, because there was probably already enough of that in the meeting. One way to do this is to Alignment of expectations Compare the participants’ expectations formulated at the beginning with the actual content and results. Another option is Target which are painted on a pinboard or. pinned. At the end of the meeting all participants mark here their satisfaction with the conference. The range is from "hit the bull’s eye" for efficient, satisfying meetings to "that missed the mark" for meetings that were perceived as a waste of time. After the meeting, you can then talk to those who were dissatisfied. This will tell you how you, as the facilitator, can better manage the meeting next time.

Topsy Schroeder Meetinn

I am Topsy and have been involved with the events industry for some time now. Therefore, in my blog you will find many interesting tips& Tricks around this topic.

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