The Characteristics of a Good Focus Group Moderator

By Prev Info - January 19, 2023

 A focus group moderator can make the difference between a successful focus group that yields valuable marketing research and a group that produces no insight. It is essential that the moderator understand how to interact with people and how to set a tone for a discussion. An effective moderator is also able to assemble the right panel for his client.

A good moderator can hold the attention of a panel


The moderator must be prepared. He must familiarize himself with his client and the product that is being researched. Once a thorough understanding is developed, the moderator must set the parameters of the focus group meeting. This includes determining the type of data he is hoping to collect, which influences the sorts of questions that he will ask during the meeting. The moderator must incorporate certain "stimuli" terms into questions to elicit reactions from the group and trigger discussion.

Panel Selection

The moderator must assemble a focus group consisting of individuals that fit the demographics the client is trying to reach. Collecting responses and data from panelists that do not meet established demographic parameters is not useful to the client and can skew marketing strategies for a product or brand. Moderators help identify which demographic categories are best suited for focus groups. Common demographic parameters include age, education and income, geographic area and gender.


A moderator's primary role is to conduct the focus group. He should be friendly and approachable to make panelists feel at ease. Conducting a focus group requires an awareness of detail beyond what is being said. The moderator must pick up on panelists' body language when certain questions are asked or when stimuli are injected into the conversation. A moderator should not force answers that a client may want to hear. He must strive for an objective discussion and collect unbiased data.


The moderator must produce a thorough and insightful report on the focus group project. The report should include details from how the panelists were chosen to the environment in which the focus group was held. A clear analysis of panelist responses must also be included. The report must be completely objective and should present honest and straightforward data. A good moderator produces such a report promptly.