I’ve never liked the word ‘moderator.’ It says so little about the variety of critical skills I believe are necessary to truly understand the complex realitites and fantasies of today’s consumer. In order to be effective, I push myself—and those I lead—to bring a number of core, critical skills to bear:



Listen to both the client and to the respondent. And with our eyes and our gut as much as with our ears. And always, always, always understanding the context.

Don’t Presume


We must not presume anything. Not from the client side. Nor from a respondent. Asking ‘why’ (in whichever of the 9,000 ways would be most effective for each situation) remains key.

Fully Engage


We must remember that it can feel artificial and highly academic unless respondents feel they can relax, laugh, and fully engage in a conversation (not just respond to a list of questions).

Go Deeper


I believe the best moderators are always working to ensure that both the brand and product stories are sufficiently clear, succinct, and meaningful. With that in mind, there is always an opportunity to go deeper.