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An Interview with Michele Moussou of Knowise

by Nancy White

Mihaela Moussou has extensive online facilitation experience in both business and social settings. She hosts a number of private work conferences for her company, Knowise.

NW: How would you describe the benefits of having a host or facilitator for a community?

MM: The host, or facilitator of online gatherings provides and maintains the 'atmosphere', literally translated, the sphere, or space where air is contained. In other words, the host or facilitator is entrusted with holding the life forces of the community.

NW: How do you describe the role(s) of the online community facilitator?

MM: Here are just a few:

Trust builder - provides the safe space for trust to surface

Sparkler - instigates creativity, new insights

Appreciator - makes sure that each individual is acknowledged

Mediator - balances different views

Story Teller -passes on the history of the community, provides uptodate summaries

Goal Keeper - keeps conversation on focus, when there is a specific purpose to be achieved

Weaver - checks for the inter relatedness of conversations occuring in different spaces

Consolidator - encourages all voices to be heard

NW: Do you have a particular approach or style of online facilitation that you use? If it varies, why?

MM: My main focus is to encourage people to be fully present when online, so my approach is to look for 'gaps', for what is missing and try to awaken or call in the particular quality that may be missing. by stepping into one of the roles described above.

My style does vary if the community is a learning community, a working community or a social community. The approach will still be the same but the style, or languaging will be different.

NW: What are some important things to pay attention to when you are training and managing other online facilitators?

MM: Each individual will have his/her particular skills or abilities. Pointing out and encouraging their pros as well as bringing awareness to where more purposeful attention is needed in specific areas would be my goal in training and managing other online facilitators. Another important thing to pay attention to, is for the trainer/manager to be open for new learnings that may come from the people one is training or facilitating.

NW: What is the worst thing that has happened to you as a facilitator online?

MM: As a host, allowing a participant to try an experiment in facilitating which turned out to be extremely painful.

NW: The best?

MM: Facilitating a community of spiritual seekers who are also engaged in business activities. The depth of connection combined with the ease of accomplishments has been extremely rewarding.

NW: How do you approach/handle conflicts in your community?

MM: By asking questions of the parties in conflict that would help clarify existing assumptions, amplify the meaning and provide common agreement grounds.

NW: How do you approach/handle low activity in your community?

MM: Back channel, investigating to the causes of low activity.

NW: What do you think is your strength as an online facilitator?

MM: Being genuine.

NW: If you had to choose one or two golden rules for online facilitators, what would they be?

MM: Respect each individual / become artful at asking questions.

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