What Is The Moderator In A Discussion And What Does He Do? Main Functions

The moderator of a debate is the person who is responsible for ensuring that the discussion complies with certain rules and that each participant can intervene without being interrupted. Their role is fundamental for its development and for the debate to be useful as an exposition of arguments.

The main role of a moderator in a debate is to ensure that the discussion runs smoothly and is fruitful. He grants turns to speak and intervenes in the event of a conflict.

A debate is a meeting between two or more people in which a pre-established topic is discussed. The moderator is the conductor of the same and begins by making a brief introduction so that the guests begin their participation, present their ideas and present the corresponding data to reinforce them.

Main functions of the moderator in a debate

1-  Presentation of the debate

The first thing the moderator usually does is focus the discussion. First you have to explain who the participants are, what are the reasons why they have been chosen to participate and what organizations they represent, if any.

You should also make a short introduction to the topic that will be discussed. A neutral voice that gives the viewer a clear picture of the matter is important, so that there is a solid background before listening to the guests.

2-  Order the debate

One of the main roles that the moderator must play is to organize the debate. This means that he is in charge of establishing the basic rules for the discussion: from the times that correspond to each participant to the structure that the discussion will have.

Most of the time the moderator allows each guest to make a first intervention to present the question, and then gives the floor to each one to present their ideas.

By playing a neutral role, you must try to make speaking turns equitable without anyone exceeding the corresponding time.

This should be done in a way that makes the whole process smooth and not too stiff.

3-  Redirect the debate

Sometimes the discussions can get away from the main issue to be discussed, either because the topic is very controversial or for other reasons.

The moderator must be able to decide to what extent they allow these deviations, which can sometimes be enriching.

The moderator should ask the participants to refocus on the main topic if they feel that they have drifted too far and that nothing is being added to the main topic.

4-  Intervene if spirits get excited

It is very common for certain topics to cause some of those who participate in a debate to lose their nerves. This can lead to yelling or the participants talking all at once, making it difficult to understand what they are saying and making the meeting unpleasant.

The moderator should calm these situations trying to calm the spirits so that the discussion returns to normal channels.

You should also try to avoid making personal references that have nothing to do with the main issue.

5-  Close the debate

The last function of the moderator, after asking his guests to make a closing comment, is to end the debate.

The most usual thing is to make a small summary of what was discussed and to establish some type of conclusion. You must maintain the same neutral attitude that you displayed throughout the debate.


  1. Pedagogical Advice. The role of the moderator. Obtained from ite.educacion.es
  2. Kelly, Rob. Moderator Duties. Retrieved from work.chron.com
  3. LaMay, Craig. Moderate – Period. (September 23, 2016). Retrieved from usnews.com
  4. Krayeske, Ken. Debating the Moderator’s Role. (October 7, 2004). Retrieved from poynter.org
  5. Wikipedia. Discussion moderator. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *