Neutral moderators are the key actors in the deliberative process. They create the climate, set the tone, and engage the participants with a steady voice. Moderators learn by experience and ask exploratory questions while endeavoring to include all the participants in the process of weighing the merits and drawbacks of actions. They are not issue experts but they do know how to help individuals share their ideas and possibly reach some common ground as a group.
- need not be issue experts but do need to have a basic understanding of what is being deliberated.
- set a positive tone and climate for civil discourse.
- practice passionate impartiality as consistently neutral dialogue facilitators.
- effectively and efficiently lead participants through the dialogue.
- remain focused and disciplined.
- provide equal time and a uniform dialogue experience regarding all the options.
- encourage the search for common ground relative to seeking problem-solving actions.
- thank the forum participants.
- work with other facilitation team members to capture and pass on the "public's voice" and recommendations.
Facilitators need forums to apply their skills. Take a look at the FORUM page for information about face-to-face forums as well as an innovative online forum opportunity called Common Ground for Action.