Dutch moderators are hot. Here’s why.

14 januari 2016
Categorieën: Art and value of moderation, Meet our moderators
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Dutch moderators are hot (and so are Dutch speakers, judging from the line-ups of many international conferences and tradeshows). Why is that? It must have something to do with the latest developments in events industry. Here are 8 characteristics of the ‘Dutch school’, closely tied to the new era of meetings.

Vlag NL

Meetings are not the same anymore. No longer do participants want to sit back and listen to speakers for hours at a time. It is about engagement, nowadays. About cocreating, gamification, interacting etcetera. Well, you all now the buzzwords.
This new way of meeting is something the Dutch have been doing for centuries, already. Our national soul makes us perfectly suited for this new way of thinking and acting. That is exactly why Dutch moderators (and those from other countries, who have Dutch Moderator-DNA) are so popular with international meeting owners, meeting designers, event managers and foremost: participants.

Whatever his passpost says, you know a moderator is from the ‘Dutch School’ when you see the 8 determinators.

Allergic to authority:
modern meetings are not about the boss telling the people what to do, how to act and what to think. It is about everyone doing what he does best. It is about taking responsibility and bringing added value to the group and the process.
Dutch moderators were raised in a society where there’s respect for any individual, but not for the simple fact that someone has a long function-title or a uniform persé. I mean: our Prime Minister comes to work on his bicycle and doesn’t mind people calling him Mark. But we do respect him!
That is what makes the Dutch School moderators perfectly suited to facilitate the new kind of meetings we see around the globe.

Open minded:
The Dutch are open to any suggestion. No option is too crazy beforehand. They – in general – are perfect brainstorming in the flesh: let’s dream first and come up with the ‘yeah, but …’ later.
This is exactly what modern meetings do: listen to each others ideas and views, without judging them upfront. Dutch-type moderation is about non-judgemental dialogue, instead of biased attitudes.
Does this mean, the Dutch will accept any wild plan? Not at all! Because they are at the same time open minded ánd a little bit conservative; old fashioned even, maybe. That is what makes them perfect moderators.

Non-directive:
In the ‘dark ages of meetings’, objectives where not something to argue about. If the boss had decided we need to go left, the only job for the moderator was to have the attendees say ‘yes’ … and if they secretly thought ‘no’ at the same time, nobody cared.
Today, everything is changing. Meeting owners know that – though having clear objectives is key – there has to be room for changing directions, updating ideas & views etc. The goal may be clear, the route to get there may change along the way.
The moderator in this case is the sherpa: knowing the terrain, but listening to all-in the group. The modern moderator will be strict on the objective, but flexible on the process at the same time.

Cooperative:
Holland is famous for its ‘poldermodel’: trying to solve any problem in cooperation and by consensus first. It probably has to do with their joint fight against the water; hence the name ‘poldermodel’: the polder being land made from water, being below see level.
This is in perfect parrallel with the modern meeting: dialogue over debate. Finding common ground, shared interest – even the truth if you will – over arguing and fighting.

Engaging:
Nobody in the world speaks Dutch and Holland is too small a country to be a superpower. Yet they ruled the Seven Seas once and are the smallest country to be succesfull at many sports. Why is that? I think it is due to the fact, that the Dutch are outgoing and not afraid to talk to and have fun with anyone. We have to, if we want to make any impression on the world
So, as a result the Dutch are not afraid to be on stage. And they love to talk to other people. The Dutch are funny (at least, I think so), lighthearted and entertaining.

Modest:
although the Dutch may appear somewhat arrogant at first glance, in fact they are very modest and serving. And that is exactly what a good moderator needs: be in charge and visible at one hand. But know that this show is not about him at the same time. Servant leadership is in their genes.
The Dutch do not want to rule the world, they want to make make it more beautiful. And they do not want to make it more beautiful singelhanded, but love to empower others to do so. The typical Dutch moderator is not looking for power or credits. He’s looking to help others achieve … like a parent raising a child.

Cooperators:
The Dutch moderators are not ones to simply do as they are told. They – like their fellow countymen – like to challenge everything. They see themselves as more then simply being the one who makes things runs smoothly on stage.
They know about ROI. They know about Meeting Design. Both these recent developments in our industry are in safe hands with the modern moderator. He or she will have a deep understanding of what you – the meeting owner – are looking for. And he will be able to help you finetune – or even design from scratch- using all his professional experience in group-ineraction

Frontrunners:
Being a small country, makes the Dutch agile people: they love new developments and will start using them immediately. So bring on Hybrid Events, Gamification and  … whatever is yet to come.

Conclusion:
Meetings are changing. And so should the way they are moderated. This requiers a different moderator-DNA. It is commonly found in Dutch moderators, but rest assured: there are many moderators around the globe who are not Dutch, but are in fact exponents of the Dutch School. Find them, and your meetings will be more succesful.