You may come across a point of view that runs something like this: ‘Run a group? Anybody with a slither of social skills can do it’. Well maybe they can, but doing so with a rapport that takes you to emotional depth, well that is a different story.

In their book Introducing NLP, Joseph O’Connor and John Seymour describe NLP as the ‘art and science of excellence’ and then go on to explain that this is achieved by scrutinising how top people in their fields achieve the results they do.

The application of NLP reveals how individuals turn their lifetime’s experiences into both models of approach and skills and techniques for putting this into practice.

AQR members will be aware by now that Tina Berry and Anne Hastings have turned the spotlight of NLP onto ‘Excellence’ in moderating in order to reveal the craft skills of elicitation and moderation They found that qualitative empathy, discovery and insight are pursued and achieved in a variety of styles, and they characterised this in a classic four quadrants model.

Having disseminated the key findings, we now turn to the main purpose behind the project, to give members a more structured way of experiencing and then analysing and reflecting on How they do, what they do.

The first workshop, ‘Mirror on the Moderator’, is scheduled for February. It aims to create the opportunity for experienced moderators to become more self aware, to challenge their own styles and to help them be able to pass on their expertise to younger researchers. The underlying ambition is to support the conversation as to why professional moderators do it better.