Prepare before the exchange begins.
Select a topic and purpose for communicating. This will guide
which steps to select or what type of new steps to create.
Identify the guaranteed participants. Although the entire network
is invited to join the discussion, identified participants commit
If the exchange entails creating a product (like building a
web site), then identify what that might be beforehand.
Identify moderators who take responsibility for moving the
exchange forward and for bringing it to closure. If the exchange is
between two points, especially if they are cross-cultural, shared
moderation works well.
Set a start and stop date for the information exchange.
Moderator posts first message.
This message describes the purpose of the dialog, the steps to be
followed, and the time limit for discussion.
Participate according to guidelines.
Most online dialog works best when pre-established guidelines are
used. Because guidelines vary according to the purpose of the dialog,
they will differ from discussion to discussion. Be sure to plan for
closure when the dialog is first established.
Review the exchange for possible next steps.
Often in an exchange, surprising or interesting information arises
that suggests a next step. This may mean building a web site to formally
publish new information or it may mean taking specific actions as
a result of the exchange. This reflective step adds broader purpose
to the information exchange.
Moderator provides final summary.
Be sure to provide a final summary of the discussion once the information
exchange has run its course. This summary helps the participants to
review and gives casual readers a context for understanding what has
transpired. In an information exchange between two points, or one
that is cross-cultural, provide summaries
from each moderator.