Q: What’s the proper business etiquette for a group moderator when one or two people in the group refuse to compromise, and the whole group is at an impasse as a result?
A: Whenever group members are at loggerheads, the most important task of the moderator is to prevent their professional disagreement from devolving into personal insults or put-downs. It’s the moderator’s job to keep the group focused strictly on the issues at hand, and to move the meeting to a successful conclusion by helping the participants find common ground on which to build a compromise and reach agreement. This can only happen in an atmosphere of respect and professional courtesy. In addition, if the group is at an impasse, it’s the moderator’s job to assess when it might be a good time to call for a break, to give people a chance to discuss the issues individually in a more informal setting.