If you are running a highly engaging virtual team workshop or training session, you need the support of a Moderator for maximum success. The criteria I use to determine if a Moderator is needed is if I have more than 10 people and I am using engagements including breakout rooms, and/or I know many people at the meeting are unfamiliar with the platform. Even a highly technically skilled facilitator, benefits from having at least one extra pair of eyes and hands to help ensure the meeting runs smoothly.
The role of a Moderator is vital and ensures a more seamless experience for all the participants. It also allows the session facilitator to be in the moment and not get distracted by the myriad of issues that can (and do) go wrong. Regardless of the platform, a Moderator is a significant player in high stake virtual sessions.
Even a talented one-person stage actor needs the support of others to manage the lights, open the curtain, and help with audience members who are having issues and if not managed, will disrupt the performance. The “show must go on” – and during the performance, the actor on the stage is able to focus and keep the act going as long as there are supportive players behind the scenes making sure everything is running as smoothly as possible.
Since Zoom is my platform of choice, these ideas are specific to Zoom, yet can be applied to other platforms as well. To be effective in Zoom, the Moderator must be promoted to Co-Host; however, if you want your Moderator to manage breakout rooms, they need to be promoted to the Host.
This is a learning process for all involved. You are likely not going to be in the same room, so you’ll be figuring out how to work together and learning as you go. The more you work with someone AND give/receive feedback about how it went, the easier it will get.
The effort you take to enlist and train a Moderator will be worth it when your session runs smoother and you are able to focus on the facilitation, knowing your Moderator is handling the many issues that emerge for people in virtual meetings.
About the Author: Leigh Ann Rodgers, Founder of Better Teams and Forward, is an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator with 20 years of experience in the human development field. Leigh Ann is a skilled meeting facilitator, trainer, and coach working across the globe to help leaders cultivate teams that are happy and high-performing.
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