Moderator Training

Moderating a meeting is like managing a political campaign

By its fundamental meaning moderation is: The avoidance of excess or extreme.

Successful meetings require a high degree of participation and fearlessness – often in opposition to the intent of those participating, where the idea of potential excess or extreme consequences forces timidity or over-aggressiveness.

From experience, we see that many meetings are conservatively tolerated, considered an event to get through, make oneself heard – or not – and importantly conclude as expeditiously as possible, in order to get back to the real pressing issues of business.

Yet the innate purpose of most meetings is to corral the collective insights, skills and vision of the team towards a commonly-shared outcome.

Achieving this purpose is easier said than done. With multiple agendas competing for attention at the table, it requires a skill set infrequently inherent within the majority – shared only by a few.


We focus singularly on this as the purpose of all meetings.

To help people; “independently think in order to collectively decide.”

How Louws gets the job done

Through trial and error, Louws discovered that for a successful outcome to any meeting, there are 4 Phases that must be accomplished:

Phase 1: Letting down the guard

Phase 2: Establishing collective direction and buy-in

Phase 3: Engendering willingness to participate

Phase 4: Getting down to brass tacks

Understanding this sequence and having the skills to move a group through each Phase is what makes Louws’ moderation skills unique.Oftentimes, assuming one can move a meeting quickly to Phase 4 is the downfall of meeting facilitators and moderators.

Not unexpectedly, groups understand a moderator’s role more clearly than do most moderators themselves, and when not demonstrated can mean the beginning and end of the moderator’s effectiveness as the meeting facilitator.

Of course, meetings should have life, energy and purpose, with a high level of lively engagement by the majority, if subsequent ownership and buy-in is to occur.

But these criteria alone are insufficient if the rigor to achieving the outcomes of these 4 Phases has not been successfully instituted.

Skill sets addressed

Communications Skills:

Understanding the job of a facilitator/moderator.

Principals and Skills to becoming better communicators and therefore more effective meeting managers.

Developing sound listening skills – coached through exercises.

Audience involvement – Skills and techniques to get an audience engaged and participating.

Ask questions. Possibly the most critical of moderator skills. Learning not only the types of questions to ask, but how to ask them based on an analysis of the group and the individuals within it. How to answer questions. How to encourage feedback. How to intercede feedback designed to intimidate, antagonize or otherwise derail proceedings.

Group Management:

How to keep the meeting on track while simultaneously encouraging a high level of audience involvement.

The role of the moderator as motivator versus instigator.

How to achieve affirmation, impartiality, temperateness and relevancy as a moderator.

Specific techniques will be taught such as a) Headlining©, b) Book Building©, and c) Blind Ideation©, each designed to elicit engagement through reducing the apparent risk of involvement.

Organizational Skills:

Techniques to opening the meeting that immediately engage and enchant.

How to bring groups along, systematically, from opening (Phase 1) to close (Phase 4).

How to segment, package and structure the session to gain a high level of willing audience participation and feedback and, at the same time, achieve the desired outcome of the session. (not always the same)

How to organize others’ thoughts.

The role of summarization.

Prompting – the do’s and don’ts.

Handling the tough ones:

Managing the “monopolizer”.

How to handle individuals in the audience who may be ‘negative’ – glass is half-full.

Addressing the “critic” and “cynic”

Handling “group” dissidents and political infighting.

Training Format

This 1 day workshop is highly interactive, involving group coaching where participants practice their skills using “real life” scenarios appropriate to their responsibilities as  facilitators.

These scenarios are predesigned to ensure relevance to all students.


1)       Per diem

2)       Hourly individual one-on-one coaching

Next Steps:

If what you have read so far is consistent with what you are looking for from Moderator and Facilitator Training, please consider giving Louws an opportunity to make good on what we promise to deliver.

Telephone: (520) 664 -1881


Mail: Moderator Training Practice Director ~ P.O. Box 130 ~ Vail ~ Arizona ~ USA ~ 85641

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