The first 4 steps to your successful moderation design

Some things always kind of start the same way.

Someone says “We need a workshop for that!”.

And then this workshop is organised internally or contracted externally and a process begins that usually looks pretty much the same. Or SHOULD look the same (because sometimes process management is not so bad after all and sometimes even a bit helpful 🙂 )

In the article below we have compiled the first 4 steps – from our experience – to your successful moderation design.

For our long term readers to remember (because you know, repetition does the trick!), and for the newcomers as a hopefully helpful path to success.

  1. Enough time for preparation

Yes, we know, this is easier said than done.

But at least TRY to plan enough time for the preparation. Because good preparation is already half the battle.

Don’t forget the image of the iceberg: what you see (the workshop) is only the tip. What keeps the glittering iceberg stable in the water is sound preparation.

Ein Eisberg vor einem bewölkten Himmel. Auch der Unterwasser liegende Teil ist sichtbar und schimmert türkis.

By the way, to design our stage plan we use Sessionlab, which offers many useful features even in the free version. Our detailed excel spreadsheet is maybe less fun to work with, but provides a slightly better overview.

Here’s our template for you: Template_Online_Moderation_Webinardesign_EN

REMEMBER! A detailed planning does not bind you slavishly to a procedure, but gives you the necessary structure to be able to act flexibly on a solid foundation.

  1. Now your topic, but stay neutral

As a facilitator, it is much less important to be an expert in the field of the workshop than it is to be an expert in the field of a training than when you are a trainer.

Nevertheless, it is still advisable to get to grips with the topic of your workshop and not to start the day completely blank.

IMPORTANT! ALWAYS keep your neutrality.

As a moderator, you do not get involved in content-related discussions (which can be challenging if you are also an expert in the field). Sometimes it is advisable to use an external moderator. If this is not possible: make yourself and your participants aware of your double role and “consciously put on the experts hat” when you change roles).

  1. Get to know your participants in advance

Even if it’s “just” your dearest colleagues, take a minute to consider what concerns your participants might bring, what their own goals and expectations are, what their agendas are.

It is also a good idea to prepare appropriate omega castings to anticipate any concerns and welcome your participants with a warmup.

  1. Define your goasl and non-goals

Anyone who has been reading along here long enough knows that nothing works without defining goals.

If you don’t know where you’re going, it won’t be easy to arrive.

If you find it difficult to define goals, the following questions may help you:

  • What should be different after the workshop than before?
  • What was made possible?
  • What are the benefits of the workshop?

Don’t confuse the (overall) goals with the (concrete) outcomes (e.g. a To Do list, a strategy, a vision, ect. i.e. something you visualized on virtual or real pinboards), and in the best case also define nongoals: these will help you to get the focus of your workshop even clearer.

And always remember: methods follow goals, not the other way around. Don’t do a World Café just because you like doing one, but because it helps you to achieve your goals.

With these 4 first steps you have already created a good basis for your workshop. They are important activities and considerations that are often overlooked in the hustle and bustle of organizing an event. However, experience shows that they really make a big difference. Only after working through these points do you then start with the agenda, the premises, the catering, etc.

We wish you a lot of joy with your next event and are of course always available for questions. Just leave us a comment with your questions!

All the best,
your Businessmind Team