Session: Building Inclusion Through Effective Moderation

Creating inclusive environments is an imperative for our industry at this time. One’s sense of belonging impacts productivity, company culture, and retention rates. While there are many important facets to fostering inclusivity, a few ways to help folks feel like they belong include asking for their opinion and input, acknowledging their contributions, and making safe spaces for differences to be seen, heard, and accepted.

The mere mention of a group discussion can have a polarizing effect on a team. There are those who love the opportunity to expound on any topic and there are those who do not say one word in an hour long meeting. Group discussions can be painfully awkward, sometimes seemingly pointless, sessions with low participation and little productivity. On the other end of the spectrum, with an effective moderator, a group discussion can be an invigorating experience. A committed moderator with a range of tools can elicit thoughtful and impactful feedback from all members of a team regardless of perceived seniority or personality.

We will discuss what an effective moderator does before, during, and after a group discussion. We will cover explicit strategies to creatively engage all members of your team. Learning how to successfully steer difficult conversations, how to handle conflicts with empathy and grace, and how to adapt your strategies on the fly will all be covered. These easy-to-implement strategies will improve your group discussions and tip the balance towards an inclusive environment where everyone feels heard.

All members of a team have something to share, whether it be in the form of feedback, new ideas, possible strategies, or alternative perspectives. The means by which this information is typically collected in group settings can leave some folks’ contributions unheard. An effective moderator is able to gather this information in both quantitative and qualitative ways from a higher percentage of participants. Whatever the size of your team or your place on a team, increased skills as a moderator will be an invaluable addition to your inclusivity tool kit.