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Being a moderator takes skill. If you want to moderate on a professional level, there are a few golden rules. When you start implementing them, you’ll find yourself growing.
We use 20 Golden Rules for all our moderations and workshops. In this blog post, we discuss rule no. 4: Make contact.

Participants want to feel like they matter. They want to be seen, heard and loved. However, too many meetings and events are like plays: you have the actors on the stage and everyone else watches passively. It’s like watching TV, as if there’s a glass wall between the stage and audience.
It’s a real shame because it’s long been proven that sitting and listening is the worst way to learn or develop oneself.

The first step to solving this problem is rather simple: make contact with the audience, moderator! Real contact!
So, don’t just talk at them; show them that you value their perspective. Or go a step further: actually talk with them. Participants love it when you ask them questions and when you make use of their knowledge to enrich the conversation.
A good moderator knows how to do this in a smart way, so that everyone feels involved, without putting anyone on the spot. There are lots of ways to do this: votes, body votes, buzzing, shout-outs, and basic moderations. These are all tools we have at our disposal.

Finally, a word about our voting systems and other interaction tools: strictly speaking, using them doesn’t count as interaction; it’s simply transmitting information from the audience to the stage. Only when you make use of the results and start a dialogue does it become interaction.
The danger of these systems is that you will make the participants feel more invisible. By having them communicate in this way, they become a statistic rather than a person. So, always try to use these tools in tandem with human contact.

Jan-Jaap In der Maur

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