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​Moderator Resources​​​

​If you've volunteered to be a moderator, THANK YOU! ​Moderators play an essential role in every session—they welcome the audience, keep the discussion moving, facilitate audience engagement with the speaker, and ensure the session runs on time.

Before the Conference

This section applies to session, Speed Poster, and poster moderators.

As a virtual meeting, presenters will need to make sure their materials are turned in ahead of time. Presenters have been sent a link with the deadline of October 8 to upload their presentations (oral presenters upload to their Speakers’ Corners; poster presenters upload to Learning Toolbox). You will be provided these links so that you can access your presenters’ uploads.

Reviewing the Presentations—What to Check for

  • Check that all your presenters have uploaded their materials by October 8. Reach out to those who did not.
  • Review all materials (PPT, video, etc.) for adherence to the Presentation Guidelines.
  • Check for quality issues. Is the text in the Powerpoints legible? Are there any video or audio issues in the pre-recording? Does the content meet the expected scientific/technical quality standards? Does the presentation speak to multiple levels of audience knowledge?
  • Check the length of pre-recorded videos( example: videos for Scientific Sessions should be around 15 minutes long.) If a video is more than a few minutes over time, please ask the presenter to trim the video down or re-record, as that will cause the session to run long.
  • Approve any appropriate changes to the listing of their presentation, such as author or title changes, and notify SSP staff so the website listing can be updated. If you have concerns about a change the presenter wants to make, also notify staff stating the issue, and it will be brought to the Planning Committee to decide whether to accept the change.
  • Work with the presenters to revise their presentation as needed in advance of the session date.
  • SSP will be pulling all PPTs and videos before the conference begins. If a presenter has changes after the conference begins, please notify staff for instructions on how to upload the new materials,

Familiarize Yourself with your Presenters’ Plans

Presenting virtually comes with new challenges. Different presenters will need different accommodations. Please be aware of which presentations will be prerecorded and which presenters will present live. All oral presenters are required to attend the session broadcast for live Q&A, and poster presenters must be available during poster times to attend the Learning Toolbox chatbox. However, some accommodations may need to be made; if you have questions about a presenter's plans, please contact SSP staff.

Prepare Questions Based on your Presenters' Presentations

While going through each presentation, it is importat to keep an eye out for questions that could stimulate discussion during the Q&A. You can also touch base with your presenters about questions they would like to be asked. You will want to bring a few complex questions (e.g., requiring more than a few words to answer) for each presenter to the live session.

Attend the Rehearsal

You and your presenters will receive an invitation to a rehearsal sessions prior to your live session, The purpose of this session is to familiarize yourself with the technology, check participants' technology set-up, touch base with your presenters, etc. You are not expected to fully run through all presentations.

During the Conference

This section applies to oral presentations (Scientific Sessions, Workshops, Speed Posters, etc.)

Before the Session Begins

  • Arrive 30 minutes before the session begins so that staff can assist with a tech check. Each session will have an AV tech and a member of SciSoc staff present.
  • You and the attending staff member will touch base on what your moderator duties are. They will answer questions and walk you through anything you’re not sure about.
  • Greet your presenters and make sure you know how to pronounce their names.
  • Let the presenters know their speaker order, remind anyone presenting live of their time limit (15 minutes for Scientific Sessions), and check in on whether they have questions before they begin.

How to Open your Session

The attending AV tech will begin recording at the start time of the session—also indicated by the red dot in the upper left and by the host's name. Once recording begins and the scheduled time has arrived, greet the room. Here is a list of recommended points for your opening:
  • Thank attendees for coming
  • State the session name (e.g., “Welcome, everyone. This is the Sensory Scientific Session.”)
  • Feel free to give a short (<2 minutes) description of or context for the session topic.
  • Mention that attendees may use the Q&A box to ask and upvote questions.
  • Ask that attendees please follow the Expected Behavior Policy in the chat.
  • Indicate that attendees may not record any conference content on their personal devices.
  • Mention the session survey on the session listing so they can provide feedback on the session.

Moderator Script
If you'd like a little help figuring out what to say at the beginning and end of your session, here is a suggested script you can use. Feel free to modify and personalize!

Moderating your Virtual Session

  • Briefly introduce each presenter at the beginning for their allotted time. For additional engagement, prepare a slide with a photo and bio for each presenter (many bios are available on the website’s People listing. Moderators are responsible for obtaining photos from the presenters if you want them). We recommend checking the bios ahead of time and truncating those that are overlong. A Powerpoint template is available for download here.
  • Maintain the session schedule. If a presenter is presenting live, notify them via the “Chat to Panelists” function when their time is running low (3-5 minutes). You may need to verbally interrupt them when their time is up, as the chat box is not always easily visible while presenting.
  • Monitor the Q&A. See below for instructions.
  • Keep an eye on the chat box as well. If an attendee is not following the Expected Behavior Policy that they agreed to while registering, you may use the text chat to warn them privately to stop and/or boot them from the session. The attending staff will also be monitoring this box, and will help address technical questions.
  • After each presentation, lead the live Q&A for that presenter. We recommend preparing a few questions for each presenter to stimulate conversation.
  • Thank each of the presenters before introducing the next one.
  • If you have additional time at the end of your session, lead an additional Q&A session that includes all speakers. Feel free to engage with attendees using the chat box (“What’s your favorite panel tip? Post in chat while I ask the presenters!”) for additional fun!
  • If you run out of time for Q&A, you and the presenters may elect to answer questions offline. If that’s the case, let the attendees know to keep an eye on the session listing for the answered questions, then make sure to save and forward the applicable questions to the presenters. When you get the answers, send them to staff to post online. This entire process is likely to take a few business days, so set expectations accordingly if asked.
  • At the end of the session, thank the attendees for coming and remind them they can submit feedback with the session survey. 

Monitoring the Q&A

While the presenter is talking, attendees may ask questions and upvote other attendees’ questions in the Q&A box. All presenters (with few exceptions) are required to attend the session to assist with the Q&A, but the specifics depend on whether their presentation is pre-recorded or live

Your Q&A Tools
Q&A Box
The Q&A box will be available in most sessions. Please direct attendees toward this box at the beginning of the session, so they know that they can ask and upvote questions during the presentation. You and the presenter will be able to:
  • Answer questions with text
  • Mark questions that you intend to ask the presenter live
  • Mark questions that have been answered live to clear up the questions listing
The Q&A function will ONLY be available in the Webinar version of Zoom (see the video and information sheet below). Most sessions will use the Webinar version, but if your session elected to use breakouts, Q&A will need to be managed in the chatbox. In that case, the upvoting and marking tools will not be available.

Chat Box
If you do not have the Q&A function, feel free to use this as Q&A. Even if you have Q&A, please monitor this box for questions as well, as some attendees may not see the Q&A function. Technical questions will be answered by attending staff.

Participants List
We recommend keeping this list open during Q&A, as some attendees may use the "raised hand" emote on this list if they have a question they wish to ask live. If you have both raised hands and Q&A questions, we recommend alternating between them to encourage attendees to use whichever they're more comfortable.
Moderating pre-recorded presenters:
  • We encourage the presenter to answer the questions with text in the Q&A box while the session is going, but you may do this as well.
  • Either you or the presenter may also mark particularly interesting questions to be asked live. Once the prerecording is ended, begin asking the presenter these questions, and mark them as “Answered Live” as you go.
  • Try to keep the individual presenter Q&A portion to the 5 allotted minutes. If there is time at the end of the session, additional questions can be asked then.
  • If your presenter is not present for Q&A, collect the most interesting/upvoted questions and send these questions to the presenter once the session is over. If this presenter did not have prior approval to miss the live Q&A, make sure the attending staff member is aware of this. Anyone who currently has approval to miss the Q&A will be noted in the presenter list above.

Moderating live presenters:
  • The presenter will likely be too busy presenting to monitor Q&A, so do what you can to answer what you can with text.
  • Mark particularly interesting questions to be asked live. When the presentation is over, begin asking the presenter these questions, and mark them as “Answered Live” as you go.
  • Either you or the presenter may also mark particularly interesting questions to be asked live. Once the prerecording is ended, begin asking the presenter these questions, and mark them as “Answered Live” as you go.
  • If something happens that causes a break in the presentation, feel free to fill time by asking the presenter some of the Q&A questions until the presentation may be resumed.
  • Try to keep the individual presenter Q&A portion to the 5 allotted minutes. If there is time at the end of the session, additional questions can be asked then.

Whether pre-recorded or live, if you run out of time for Q&A, any presenter may elect to answer additional questions offline. If this is the case, collect questions during the session and send them to the applicable presenters. Once you receive the answers, just forward the questions and answers to staff and they will be posted online.

Additional Resources

Zoom Moderation Guide

ReviewConfex_Zoom_Meeting_Instructions_for_Moderators_and_Presenters.pdfthis guide to familiarize yourself with Zoom moderation tools and best practices.

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Training Video

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