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For many, many years, our meeting where run on hiërarchy. But now, there’s a shift going on towards co-creation. As a result, it changes the way we gather, decide and make things happen.
Simultaneously there’s more emphasis given to effectiveness of meetings & events. This – in our view- makes great moderation ever more important. So it’s about time, we came up with a serious theory on the value of the moderator.

A meeting is successful, when it effectively contributes to the raison d'être of the organiser (meeting-owner) and all participants. A successful meeting in our view is always built on three elements, combined in this one mathematical equasion:

Succesful meeting = objective x meeting design x moderation

Let’s review the individual elements and their specific role in the equasion, to get more insight in the content and concept of events.

Objective
A meeting without a clear, measurable goal can never be called effective. After all: you can only call something a success if you determine upfront what the terms and conditions are for calling it effective.
So, without a measurable goal, any meeting is meaningless.

Meeting Design
This one’s about the art of translating objective and content into an effective concept.
A great program is designed into detail, in order to present the participants with exactly the right format and information, inspiration, skills, networking etc.
Not putting in the effort will get you a less effective event.

Moderation
This is the effective execution of the meeting design, allowing it to meet the target. A plan can look great on paper, but effectiveness can only be scored on stage.

One of the elements obviously is the moderator in all his forms and shapes: facilitating, leading debates, interviewing, MC-ing etc.
He or she can only deliver maximum value based on a Moderation Design: a conscious choice of tone, pace and style.

By the way, 'moderation' is more than just someone who moderates. We mean a carefully selected moderator: the one that is most qualified to execute this specific program.
Sometime this will be a well-chosen professional. But sometimes someone from inside the organisation will do, maybe with some coaching.

Validation and impact
We could discuss endelessly about the importance of the elements. We decided to put Objective x Meeting Design x Moderation in a ratio of 10:5:2

The underlying idea is: no objective in the first place, means no value to begin with. So that’s why this one gets the highest weight. The goal can only be met with great meeting design, so there's your number two. And finally, great moderation is helpful, but in all honesty 'just execution’.

The impact is simple: a maximum score on all elements means 10 x 5 x 2 = 100% effectiveness.
Leave out and score zero on one of the elements and you get zero% success. And choosing the wrong moderator for instance, will score it 1 instead of 2, lowering your effectiveness to 50%.

By the way: the weight of the elements has no relation to budget. Defining a measurable objective has high impact, but can in some cases be done in 5 minutes. Whereas putting in the Meeting Design hours can be a serious investment.

Conclusion
Taking this perspective on meetings & events, gives you insight in the importance of objective, meeting design and (forgive us the commercial break) great moderation.

Jan-Jaap In der Maur

Picture by thisisengineering-raeng on Unsplash

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