West Virginia Center for Civic Life

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The West Virginia. Center for Civic Life is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that helps engage our citizens in community discussions of important public issues that affect our state and nation.

Think. Talk. Act.

The important role of moderators

Would you like to learn more about moderating community dialogues?

The WV Center for Civic Life offers one- or two-day Civic Life Institutes every year at locations around the state to help people learn to convene and moderate community dialogues. One of the most valuable parts of the Institute is the opportunity to practice moderating with a small group of peers who then provide constructive feedback. Check the home page or send an email to info@wvciviclife.org for the next scheduled Civic Life Institute.

For most of us, it’s a new experience to sit down with others in our community, as citizens, to talk about complex community problems. These discussions are usually much more productive when led by a neutral moderator (facilitator) who helps participants maintain an atmosphere for productive conversation. The moderator asks questions that probe deeply into the issue at hand and helps participants consider possible actions and next steps.

While the skills of being a moderator are not hard to grasp, it takes conscious effort for most of us to deliberately step out of the role of participant and into the role of facilitator. Many people find it useful to explore and practice the skills of being a moderator before they step up to that role in public.