Webinar online moderation & engagement design

20 april 2020
Categorieën: Art and value of moderation, News
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Do you moderate meetings and events? Do you design engaging programs and formats? Are you – like many others! – struggling to make the paradigm shift to online? Or are you simply looking at your first ever virtual moderation or meeting design?
Then this workshop (online, obviously 😉) is for you!



(picture by Alfred Rowe on Unsplash)


Masters in Moderation will help you make the change. We will practice moderation of virtual groups and we will work on making online events more engaging and interactive.
We will serve you four topics, spread over two days: on day one we will cover opening/closing and basic moderation & interaction tactics. Day 2 will have you look into the design of an engaging program and the choice of platforms/tools/team.


Per day you pay € 225 (corporate) or € 125 (self employed). For the full two days, rates are € 395/195.


The first training will be on September 10 & 11 (trainer: Kjell Lutz).
On both days, we will work from 15.00 – 18.00 CET.
(don’t worry, if you can’t attend all four topics: you can do one in a later training or get the recording in your mailbox)

Info & registration

Wanna now more? Drop us a note at info@mastersinmoderation
Wanna participate: book quickly! We have a limited amount of seats.

How to touch people, when your event is virtual

18 maart 2020
Categorieën: Art and value of moderation, News
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There are many reasons to choose a virtual, online event over a live one. But when you do, be sure to avoid the most important pitfalls: invest in making it interactive and engaging, instead of going back to ‘sending only’. Make participants feel that you genuinly reach out to them, even though you can’t touch them physically. Show your viewers that they are part of the show, not just spectators. Basically: do everything you would ‘on stage’, but then online.
Here’s some ideas, to make your virtual event about people, not about technique only.


(picture by Alfred Rowe on Unsplash)

Design for digital

Treat online events, just as you would go about a live meeting: start with defining the objectives, then design the most effective formats. And then trust in the fact that whatever wild ideas you come up with, there will be a solution to make it happen. This also means not doing it the other way around. So don’t start with the choice of platform, tools etc. before you know what you need.

What you shouldn’t do, is simply copy the face2face format to online. The human experience should be equally engaging, the design should be broken down and rebuilt specifically for online.

Design a great opening

Just as in live-events, you do the ‘coding’ in the first few minutes of your virtual meeting. On a subconsious level, you need to show your participants what kind of meeting this will be, what contribution will be expected of them and what rules apply to this temporary tribe.
That means that if you want the session te be interactive, you should start right away. Skip the endless introductions and start making a real connection. This will allow you to set the tone of voice, the pace and the objective of the meeting.

Starting interactively can be anything. Be creative about it: play a game. Have everyone scan all camera’s and post how many of those people they already know. Do a quick poll or wordcloud. Have 100 camera’s together form the logo of the company, by using coloured papers in front of the lense. Be playful.

Plan for designated interaction moments

In general, with online events we tend to allow participants to constantly post questions or remarks. We prefer to work with specific timeslots, so people can listen first and respond later; or think and give input first, and then listen.
A suggestion might even be, to ask for specific responses or a specific kind of questions. This will give your event the structure it needs and helps participants understand what it is you want them to do.

Keep them on their toes

When online, minds drift even more than in real live. So it’s key to engage the participants on a regular basis. We advise to actively involve them at least every 3-5 minutes. And note: actively involve is more than just saying ‘if you have a question, please post’. Actively involving means: making them think, move, act.
On top of that, it’s important to change formats regularly. Every briljant format gets boring after a while. So cut your virtual event up in pieces and for each one, decide what the most effective format is. If you need inspiration, send us your specific question and we’ll come up with some suggestions. There’s an endless amount of ideas out there, that will also work online.

Get to the point

In real life, a long rant by any speaker is horrible and will make participants switch of. Online, the attention span is even shorter. So if you present: get to the point, cut the crap.
This might mean doing a short summary only and posting a document with further details in the chat or sending it by email. Or you could put some info on-screen and give people some time to read and understand, before you go on.

Change groupsize

Every part of a program requiers a different dynamic. So if you can, have people work in groups of 2-4-8-10 people. And yes: that may be a challenge, when everybody is at home and is participating from their individual screen. But fear not and be creative: there are platform that allow breaking up in smaller groups, you could have people cooperate in a whatsapp group, arrange for conference calls or shout at each other from balconies.
You can have these groups dig deeper into content, tell each other stories, prepare questions, come up with potential solutions, work on an assigmnent. Once you start thinking, there’s a million of options and formats. We will most gladly help you find or design the one, that perfectly matches your online event.

Use multiple streams

Not everyone is interested in the same content. You can communicate what will de discussed at what time, so participants can choose when to log in. Or you can have a number of sessions simultaneaously, for people to choose from.
And even when you want all participants to attend all sessions/speakers, there’s the option of splitting the group. Instead of having – let’s say – a 100 people listen to four speakers in a row, you can ask the experts to do their presentation 4 times: you can imagine how a group 0f 25 will bring a different dynamic than a team of 100.

Allow them to switch of

Human beings need time to themselves: to think about a question/problem, to prepare for a next session or to digest information. It may feel strange not to broadcast anything for a few minutes, but believe us: there is a lot of power in asking participants to individually write down a list of challenges, take a five minute walk around the garden to think something over or to make a drawing of ‘the future’. It will revitalize them ánd make them more carefull listeners.
And obviously, people have other stuff on their minds. So why not do regular breaks, for toilet, email etc?

Use tools

When online, it is kind of hard to do oldskool stuff like bodyvoting, raising hands etc. So look for tools that will have the same effect, but online.
First of all, there’s the option of polling/voting, using tools like Slido. They will help you get a quick insight in to what people think, need and want. Some of these tools are also great for crowdsourcing the most important question. And a quick wordcloud works wonders to get a grip on the most important challenges, solutions etc.
If you’re looking for more functionalities, like networking and all kinds of playfull stuff, take a look at Presenterswall.
And might you want to dig deeper, we suggest looking into our own tool ConsensIQ. It allows groups to do more accurate forcasting, have more thorough dialogue on dilemma’s and take more balanced decisions, backed by all.
All in all, there’s a tool out there for everything. So don’t hold back, come up with crazy ideas and start searching.

Have fun

Also online, people love to play around. So why not do a quiz or other games? Or look around for fun stuff like ‘the wheel of names’. Give them crazy assignments, like googling do the most stupid solution ever. Or whatever you can come up with.

Prepare and get your tech right

Sure, a certain degree of improv will make your event better; more human, if you will. But only in preparation you will find room for flexibillity.
So please, prepare content! Make sure that participants feel that you are on the game and that they don’t find you searching for the right information, document etc.
And get your tech in place. This means being on the designated platform, way before the participants come in. Especially the opening is vital and asking people to give you 5 minutes to do the settings is deadly.

Know who is watching

Just as in real live events, it is crucial to know who your participants are, to avoid you telling them stuff they already know or things there’s not interested in. The most simple way to do so, is by asking; before the meeting an/or during it.


If you switch from live to online, it changes … nothing! It’s just another medium, with different dynamics and tools. But the participants and their needs stay the same. Be creative and everything is possible.



Awards-time: two down, one to go

3 februari 2017
Categorieën: Geen rubriek, News
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It has become harder and harder not to brag, over the past few weeks. The Westland Cheese project we did (in cooperation with MindMeeting) got nominated and awarded, all over the world. We feel proud and happy! And we hope you’ll forgive us, if we give a quick overview of all the positive attention we received for this great project.


First, we got nominated in the category Meeting Design at the European Best Event Awards. In the end we were awarded the Bronze Medal. Winning this, against a heavy competition by the best agencies in the world, was very special to us; especially, since moderation played such a big part in this project, showing the world the importance of our trade :-)



Then, it was on to Eventex. Yet another great competition, very much foscussing on disruptive, effective meeting formats. We were nominated in the category Best Conference and yet again, we brought home a Bronze Medal!

Eventex-2017-Best-Conference-3 (1)

Our Owner-moderator Hans Etman moderated the conference, ont he two days right after the award (that had nothing to do with us winning a medal … cross our hearts). He helped design a dynamic and disruptive programma, and received positive feedback on his performance.

Golden Giraffe

And now, we will concentrate on our homebase, Holland. We entered the Golden Giraffe competition and got nominated again; in the category ‘Best Internal Event’, this time. We knew all nominees would be informed personally. last friday. So we found ourselves watching the live-posts on Facebook all day long, hoping …. It was late in the afternoon, that the doorbell rang at the house of our Founder-Moderator Jan-Jaap In der Maur. Watch this to see what happened.
The award show is on february 10. We’ll keep you posted.

If you want to know all about this very succesful project, take a look here.

Eubea nomination: Moderation and Meeting Design go hand-in-hand

26 september 2016
Categorieën: Art and value of moderation, News
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We are truly proud to be on the shortlist for the European Best Event Awards.Our nomination in the category Meeting Design shows the importance of the seamless integration of moderation and meeting design.
In this project, our client Westland Cheese, meeting design agency MindMeetingand Masters in Moderation cooperated like Siamese triplets. The well-coordinated efforts of all three parties were the main element in creating the success of the bi-annual Westland Family Congress: in our view, only a perfect combinationof objectives, meeting design and moderation will produce real ROI

Eubea 2016

We had the best family congress ever, says Desiree Westland, one of the members of the congress committee. And in the process whe had so much fun!
Every two years, the Westland family organizes a congress: family shareholders gather to face the specific challenges of a family-run business. After two in their own words average editions, for 2016 they wanted something special and really effective.
In charge of this years family event was the youngest generation of shareholders. Initially, they asked Masters in Moderation only to provide a moderator. But their openness to any suggestion was the start of a unique cooperation.


Our first meeting was a ball: the family was full of wild, creative ideas. We loved it (and them). Nevertheless, for the time being, we asked them to forget about themes, formats and so on. We convinced them into formulating clear objectives first.
So the moderation started way before the actual event – as it should be. Working with the Event ROI Institutes methodology, we discussed in depth, what the congress committee wanted as the ROI of this meeting,
As part of the process, we individually interviewed a carefully selected group of average family representatives. It helped us to move from assuming, to actually knowing what the family wanted and (dis)liked.
This probably was the bravest of all steps the congress committee took. And a vital step it was in creating the right programme!

WP_20160409_11_50_57_Rich__highres WP_20160409_09_50_14_Pro__highres


The next important decision of this brave bunch of clients, was to allocate a major part of their budget to the design stage. So far, the family was used to start their preparations by booking a 5 star venue & hotel with top-quality food.
In this case they did not book a venue until the requirements were absolutely clear. We first defined what environment would help the moderation of the meeting design most, and only then booked De Kapellerput. Which by the way turned out to be the best venue ever: they really understood the programme design and went out of their way to help us do a perfect moderation!


Once the objectives were clear, we were ready to start designing. As a moderator, meeting design is a natural part of your profession: you know from experience what works, so you are well equipped to advise the meeting owner.
At the same time, you need to know the limits of your skills. So in this case, we decided to bring in a sound dose of specific meeting design power. And because we wanted the best, we cooperated with MindMeetings Mike van der Vijver; ranked among the worlds best meeting designers.
And so the Siamese twins became triplets: the Westland family added their insider knowledge and enthusiasm, Masters in Moderation added their content & concept power and MindMeeting offered their immense creativity and sound methodology.

In two meetings, Mike van der Vijver guided us through a brilliant process. The family turned out to be very perceptive to his method of brainstorming and moulding of the programme. In the end it was Mathias Westland, who said: it feels like we are organising a first day in primary school and thus the experience concept was born!
Having obtained the necessary input on objectives, experience and content, Mike started designing. And moderators as we are, Masters in Moderation helped him, by being a sparring partner. Mike said about the process: It is rare for a client to have the courage and the commitment to get the design process right. The congress committee evidently trusted Masters in Moderation so much that they were incredibly easy to work with.

WP_20160409_12_47_37_Rich__highres WP_20160409_12_43_14_Rich__highres


The execution phase was one of true co-creation. The family did the better part of the actual meeting planning: they found the ideal venue and decorated it to perfection, in line with the desired experience.
On top of that, one of the nieces graphically designed the family-game that was to be played as the main part of the programme (only after the participants had decided on the rules and the challenges to be included in the game) and a be-my-friend-booklet for everyone.
Masters in Moderation set out to find the perfect moderator. Kim Coppes was perfectly typecast in her role as schoolteacher-facilitator. And the class loved her! She truly understood the meeting design and the need of the participants. About the meeting, Kim said: The format supported the content and objectives perfectly. It was designed with lots of love: imaginative and effective into every detail, and therefor a joy to moderate.


In order to bring true ROI, great meetings need full integration of clear objectives, great meeting design and brilliant moderation. This project shows without a shadow of doubt, that this is the case for every event; even smaller ones with modest budgets. Or, as Desiree Westland put it: There was a new surprise every step of the way. And every one turned out to be more effective then we could ever hope for. This project was special in every detail. We were so proud to be the meeting owners of this one.

We can only hope that the Eubea jury will see the sweeping value in this and award us the trophy.

Jan-Jaap In der Maur

Survey explains Mastering Moderation’s popularity: “I would do the same workshop again, in a heartbeat”.

19 februari 2016
Categorieën: Art and value of moderation, News
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Kim Coppes and Jan-Jaap In der Maur trained almost 200 people in their workshop Mastering Moderation. A survey reflecting on the two years of training so far, shows staggering results: participants rate the workshop with a NetPromoterScore of 80! Or as one of the alumni phrases it: “I would do the same workshop again, in a heartbeat”.

LM groep lacht Kim

Moderation is hot. More people – not all of them being professional, full time moderators – find themselves having to moderate sessions. That’s why Kim Coppes and Jan-Jaap In der Maur started a professional moderation-workshop, allowing all to learn and apply the basics of effective moderation.
From the first edition up till today, almost every workshop is completely sold out. Participants of incompany trainings and open workshops are happy every single time. An Alumni stated: “I have never learned so much in two days”.

NPS score 80

A recent survey revealed the relevance, quality and effectiveness of the workshop. Not only did it score an extraordinairy NPS of 80, also over 70% of the participant rated the training with a nine or even a perfect 10, while 7 was the lowest score.
Participants value the high amount of practise and personal attention. They called the workshop original, playful, engaging, effective, direct applicable, memorable and even ‘a profound experience, that changed me in my personal and professional life’.

LM JJ gesticuleert

On the impact of the workshop, the delegates judged it to be on average 4.3 out of 5 on several elements, leading to testimonials like: ‘The feedback was honest and instant. There were so many skills, you can apply straight away”.
Many of the participants called it the best training experience ever. ‘And I’ve had a lot!’, says one. The vast majority indicated having learned new things, having improved their moderation skills significantly and having been able to implement the learnings. A happy attendee found: ‘this course is still resonating with me, and I’m using skills learned everyday’.

LM Kim lacht

Perfect trainers: 64%
The quality of trainers Jan-Jaap In der Maur and Kim Coppes proved to be an important ingredient in the effectiveness of the training. No less than 64% gave Kim and Jan-Jaap a perfect 5 out of 5, leaving 36% not any lower than 4 out of 5.
The participants spoke highly of their passion, creativity, personal attention, engagement and fun. The most special quotes were: “training isn’t a skill, it’s a state of being. The trainers were not training, they were helping’.

LM deelnemer in actie

Succes explained

After being overwhelmed by the succes at first, Kim and Jan-Jaap now have a good idea on the reasons: “Meetings are changing, for one: from speaker oriented to engaging, interactive and crowd-based. But as a whole, our society is changing, from top-down to bottom-up, to a more cooperative one. And that means that in every part of society, there’s more to be discussed. And that means that civil servants, employees of large organisations, well almost everyone finds himself moderating more often. Dialogue, we feel, is the basis of the next generations. And moderation is the basis of succesful dialogue”.


Jan-Jaap In der Maur

Agent provocateur or cooperative connector

22 mei 2015
Categorieën: Art and value of moderation, News
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Recently, Masters in Moderation was featured in the IMEX-edition of Meeting Magazine. The editorial paints a picture of our vision on the art and value of moderation.

Our CEO’s Hans Etman and Jan-Jaap In der Maur are quoted: “Choosing exactly the right moderator-facilitator for each occasion makes meetings and events more effective, more fun and definitely more worthwhile”. Furthermore our moderators Lars Sorensen, Gerrit Heijkoop and Otto Wijnen are presented.

Wanna know more? Read the full story: Masters in Moderation Meeting Magazine IMEX15.


Meet Roy Sheppard: your cheapest insurance

23 april 2015
Categorieën: Meet our moderators, News
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Masters in Moderation is delighted to announce that we have been joined by British master moderator Roy Sheppard. Roy is highly respected within the global conference industry as one of the most experienced conference moderators in the world.


360,000 speakers receive Toastmasters magazine each month. In this month’s edition, they have included a three page profile on Roy’s work as a moderator. It is a great way of getting to know him: Roy Sheppard MiM-Toastmasters.

If you’d like to check Roy’s availability for your next conference or meeting, please get in touch with Masters in Moderation at info@mastersinmoderation.com  or +31 6 46 113 994