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Moderators are reviewed on a regular basis, just as speakers and events are. We even have websites, where people can rate moderators; just as there are for hotels, restaurants, etc.
But let’s review the added value of these ratings. In general, they mean … nothing! A 10, 8 or 5 has no merit, as long as we don’t know by which ciriteria these mark were given.

If you want to give us – the moderators - a review, please stick to these four criteria.

Base it on a clear objective
Too often moderators, speakers and meetings are reviewed, without the ‘examiner’ knowing what the objective of the meeting was.
That’s why moderators typically get high ratings for sense of humor: because participants have no clue what else to rate. Only if they know the target, they can tell if the moderator helped them hit it.

A few examples: if you knew the objective of the meeting is to get a full overview of all challenges at hand, you know if the moderator assisted in getting the full list. And only if you are aware that the interview with the CEO was meant to show his human side, you are able to rate the moderator for doing so.

The moment you know the objective, the 8,6 becomes relevant. Because only then, the moderator is rated for adding value, rather than being friendly.

Rate on specific criteria
As a moderator, we want to know what is expected of us. And we want to be rated on just that. This might even mean that a low rating can be a good thing. Let me give an example: one of my most successful moderations got me a 5 out of 10. Participants judged me to be a pain in the ass. And that made me happy.
In this case in was my job to be the pain in the ass. Participants were to be confronted with stuff that wasn’t going well and to see their own part in this. In these cases, growth means pain. And the client hired me, to take this one for the team. I played my part, things changed and my poor grade was a sign of success!

Ask the right questions
Once you have the objective and the criteria, coming up with the right questions is the next step. Simply asking ‘how did you like the event’ is no good, since participants do not know what you mean by ‘like’.

So you need to be looking for questions about the specific role of for instance the moderator. Stuff like: ‘did you get a new perspective on the functioning of our organisation’? Or maybe: ‘to what degree did the moderator help you validate your own role’?

Review specific roles
A moderator that scores a 10 on one event, is not necessarily the perfect candidate for any other meeting. Because other objectives, formats etc. mean other demands.
A moderator that scores high on awardshows may not have been the best choice for my internal trouble shooting meeting. And the other way around.

Reviews are great, as long as objective, criteria and questions are well thought of.
If you’re looking for a moderator, speaker or whatever, find answer to the question what these ratings mean.

Jan-Jaap In der Maur

Picture by Markus Spiske op Unsplash

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