Moderating is a profession with many aspects. And you have to be able to turn them all on at the same time, like a simultaneous chess player.
Yet, if you look closely, all these aspects and all these necessary skills revolve around only one thing: the ability to listen. To really listen. To listen in order to understand.
Many moderators listen in a purely functional way. They want to hear what someone is saying, so that they can respond appropriately, tick a question off their list, find a bridge to the next part of the programme and so on.
These are all important reasons to listen. But the most important reason to listen is to get a better sense of what moves someone, what is going on, what is needed in order to move forward.
The best turns in a conversation, dialogue or meeting always come when the moderator listens more deeply; with empathy and love. Because then the moderator hears under the surface and sees what really helps a group.
Deep listening is not a technique. It is the sincere desire to hear, to understand, to comprehend. It is who you are as a human being and what helps you to be a good moderator.
Jan-Jaap In der Maur