When moderating a deliberation, finding a balance between leading the conversation and becoming too involved in the conversation is a delicate task. When one is designated the moderator of a conversation, it is essential that they are knowledgeable about the topic of discussion and are able to push the deliberation forward. As I moderate future discussions, I shall strive to possess both of these qualities, in order to perform my task as moderator the best I can.
To begin, the most important quality for a moderator to possess is that of knowledge of the topic. Without background knowledge, it is increasingly difficult for a moderator to pose open-ended questions, or merely understand the conversation. During our class debate regarding sustainability, I found myself lacking the knowledge needed to be an excellent moderator. Although I had prepared by reading the packet of information distributed during class, I found myself slightly behind in the conversation. My group’s conversation extended beyond the ideas within the packet, particularly to the proposed Alaskan pipeline. Before the deliberation I had heard of the pipeline in the news, but was not well versed on the topic. I found myself at a loss of words and questions as I moderated the conversation through this topic. Before asking a question, I became afraid that it would become apparent that I did not really know what I was talking about. Where I was uneducated on the topic, he seemed to have an extensive knowledge on the pipeline, the politics behind the concept, and the logistics it would entail. His knowledge was apparent during our deliberation, and I found that because of his background, he was able to keep the conversation on the right track, as a good moderator should.
Furthermore, it is the responsibility of the moderator to ensure the conversation continues forward. I found that this was a strength of mine. During our deliberation, when I noticed that we had been discussing the same point for an extended time, without new ideas being introduced, I asked for the group’s thoughts on a new point. Additionally, I found myself trying to bring the group’s attention back to sustainability. Every so often the group would stray from the topic, and I strived to bring the conversation back. I found that leading a group in this way is a strength of mine, and dominates my personal moderating style.
Moving forward, I indent to strive to be more knowledgeable when moderating my next conversation and continue improving my skills regarding moving a conversation forward. I have found these to be the key principles for an excellent moderator to possess.