What is the difference between an event moderator and an event facilitator at meetings, events, and other occasions of discussion, sharing, and networking? When should you choose a moderator and when should you choose a facilitator?

The difference between a moderator and a facilitator is often blurred or overlooked, even though there is a substantial difference.


A moderator at events, meetings, and networking gatherings will concentrate on keeping the communication and information flow clear and accessible to everyone that participates, at all times. So, the moderator is sort of like an information manager. In an Internet-based environment, he or she monitors the flow of communication, makes digests and summaries, approves posts, and even maintains the online environment. The moderator is usually invisible, but still very essential.


A facilitator at networking events, meetings, and other types of event is a lot more active and visible. He or she will steer the flow of communication and make sure it stays on track. So, facilitation will have a focus on including every participant in the discussion, even the ones that do not want to speak out as much. The facilitator makes sure everyone gets involved. He will be the one that ensures that all voices are heard and the discussion is active and alive, interesting, useful, and beneficial. A facilitator will also make it clear when a milestone has been reached in the discussion, and he will move everyone along to the next milestone. A facilitator should have great people skills, and he should enable an inclusive and comfortable environment of trust for everyone that participates.

When you choose a moderator versus a facilitator? You probably need both to have a successful interplay. Understanding the difference between each one is important, because each one has a unique set of skills.

There Is A Subtle Difference In What Moderator And Facilitator Mean

When someone moderates something, they meter it. In other words, they control or limit something so that it is within a set limit or boundary. A facilitator, on the other hand, will make something easier and move it forward. To call someone a facilitator would convey something different than calling them a moderator. A moderator would control and moderate a group – ensuring that they stay within the boundaries and keep on point in order to get to the kinds of answers that you are searching for. On the other hand, a facilitator would help the discussion or event move along, and would keep everyone talking.

Even though the terms moderator and facilitator seem similar, you can clearly see that the use of each term implies a different activity.

An event moderator offers assistance to presenters and the audience. A facilitator keeps things moving along and makes sure everyone is participating. Sometimes, the role of an event moderator and an event facilitator is blurred, and one person can assume both activities. Make sure that you ask whomever you are hiring what they are going to be doing.

5 Responses to The Difference Between An Event Moderator And An Event Facilitator
  1. Emmanuel Mwitelela March 23, at 1:25 pm Reply

    And I thought i was smart! Thanks silly things we take for granted. Now I know when to moderate and when to facilitate.


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  3. Michael March 10, at 3:48 pm Reply

    It’s an important distinction and I like the explanation. I would add though that the purpose of moderation and of facilitation are different. In moderation, it’s the fluid and appropriate flow of information. In facilitation, it goes beyond this and it’s getting towards some kind of group resolution or outcome for which the information exchange is just a part of a much bigger process.

    • Hey Michael, thank you so much for your comment. Great distinction of purpose there! However, can the moderator and the facilitator be the same person?

  4. James Hasler May 18, at 2:12 pm Reply

    Being someone who specialises in both activities it is refreshing to find someone who understands the difference between the roles.

    Very often those who engage me are unclear about what they need me to do and regularly choose me under the title of one and use me as the other!


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