Profession of “Professional Moderator” is dying

Is it only me or is it a thing? The profession of “Professional Moderator” is dying away.

“To be a successful moderator, you must research the topics beforehand, prepare appropriate questions, and stay neutral. Additional qualifications include the ability to pay close attention to all interactions, sound judgment, and excellent written language skills.”

This is how we the professionals understand our work. But these days, every time I quote my true professional fee and on the conservative side, moreover, that covers researching on the topic as well, I will be lucky to get a reply. And if I do get a reply I will be told take it or leave it. Often I have simply left it, especially if I am not that passionate about the topic. Sometimes, I have taken it because I am that passionate about the topic.

There is a tendency for clients these days to think that a moderator need simply walk into the room and ask pre-set questions without researching the topic and preparing the appropriate questions. You are told, the panelists or discussants have been given the questions and they are going to come prepared to answer the preset questions. I find such rigid conversations not only boring but very unproductive and unfair to the people, especially if it is public servants on the panel.

And the thing I find even the more frustrating is nearly everyone thinks that they can be a good moderator. It is painful to watch as the non professional moderator is instead moderated by the panelists or discussants, at best; at worst the entire event is a mess.

Is it me or is it true that the “professional moderator” profession is dying away and will soon be extinct?

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