Reflections on Our Moderating Training Session: The Takeaway of One Special Attendee

Adeeti KattiOur latest Moderator Training Session at McGladrey made quite the impression on the folks in attendance. Ginny Brown sure has a talent and an aspiration for delivering meaningful content to the bright, open minds seeking fresh perspectives on leadership. One special attendee, the cultured and passionate Adeeti Katti, was generous enough to sort out and share with our community her inspired takeaway from the session. Have a read below, and consider being involved in our sessions. -Deborah

My understanding of effective communication was simple. Constant conflict with my mother as a teenager taught me to:

A. Be honest

B. Always be respectful


C. Abide by the Native American proverb, “Don’t judge a man till you’ve walked two moons in his moccasins”.

My mother had an affinity for Sharon Creech’s book Walk Two Moons that emphasized the rewards of emotional intelligence and empathy. The proverb became famous through her work of young-adult fiction, as words of advice to a burgeoning young woman. However, in today’s world, books such as Emotional Intelligence and How to Win Friends and Influence People are popularly referenced and regarded as tools for success.

I came into a WAC Moderator Training Session with these thoughts in mind as well as the wonders effective communication did when bringing together a mother and daughter. Ginny Brown, however, blew me away. She commanded an immediate positive energy as well as respect, modeling many of her suggestions through conducting the session. Her ideas targeted problems we all possess at some point in our professional lives. What is the best way to deal with a particularly talkative coworker? How do you keep the energy of a meeting upbeat as well as focused?

Intriguingly, her answers emphasized an understanding and empathy of the other person in discussion. Her suggestion of using the words “help me understand” instead of asking an abrasive “why?” was indicative of how often we do not realize how a seemingly harmless phrase may change the energy of a meeting, or how asking a quieter person about their thoughts may completely change their openness and involvement in a discussion.

The session ended with each member receiving a card with a personality type such as “interrupter” or “argumentative”, beginning a role play depicting what workplace conflicts may ensue with various types of people. In a way, we were “walking two moons” by temporarily adopting the mindsets of the many types of coworkers we all have.

My main takeaway from this event was that being a great moderator, facilitator, speaker, or leader comes from understanding the perspectives of other people. I have to read body language, learn to speak the language of my coworkers, and always be willing to listen. These are skills not only necessary for immediate conflict resolution but also apply to personal relationships for life.

Adeeti Katti is a rising senior at Columbia University majoring in Economics and Middle East/South Asian Studies. She’s currently in the process of cofounding a magazine, The Cartesian Man, dedicated to interdisciplinary topics such the intersection of education and health. In her spare time she enjoys fusion cuisine and Urdu poetry as well as indulging in all things related to personal and professional development.