I think this moderator experience is going to be very interesting. I’ve never done something like this before. Heck, I’ve barely ever participated in a debate. So what’s my moderating strategy? Good question. But I can make some educated guesses.
Okay, so a good moderator is neutral, and doesn’t advance any opinions. I don’t know if this will be easy or hard for me. Sometimes, I like to sit back and listen, and sometimes I don’t. I can tend to be very indecisive, so if I don’t already have a side to the issue, I will probably enjoy sitting back and listening. However, if I feel strongly about something, I can get kind of stubborn. If this happens, I’ll have to work hard to keep my mouth shut. I’ll just have to focus on listening, keeping an open mind, and not being biased.
A good moderator can frame the sides, have an introduction to the issue, and has a few starter questions. For this, I’ll have to do my research. I will have to make sure I am knowledgeable enough that I can follow, and in some cases, prompt the discussion. I’ll have to decide where I think a good place to start will be, and make adjustments as the deliberation continues.
A good moderator also makes sure all voices are heard, and nobody dominates. While I can see it being an easy trap to fall into, two people with strong opinions taking sides and going at it, I’ll have to put a stop to that before it starts to happen. I can ask the less-heard voices their opinions. I think that hearing all voices makes it a MUCH more effective deliberation, and it is probably these voices that will be able to come up with the new solutions.
Hopefully, as a moderator, I can lead the group to the final goal of common understanding, which opens the possibility for new solutions, and eventually action.