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Guidelines for Moderators & Speakers 

Session Moderators Guidelines


Due to the virtual nature of the conference, as an important part of an organizing team, session moderators have the extra responsibility to guide conference participants and presenters towards a rich, intellectual experience. Please check your sessions now and 20 minutes before the start time of your session on the online Program to get the most up-to-date status of your session.


Some presenters have a colleague/co-author who might be substituted in their stead. We ask that you accommodate such requests. Independent of the number of participants present in the session, please proceed as if the room is full of participants and engage with the presenter for the best outcome for all who are present. Please note that sessions will be recorded; so you will moderate the audience interaction. When the host presses the record button on Zoom, all participants are informed of the recording by a message in the dialog box: "This meeting is being recorded now. By remaining in this meeting, you consent to being recorded.” The audience can then choose one of the two “Leave Now” or “Continue” buttons.


We are also still accommodating some last hour requests. Although it is unlikely, if you see that the start time and the end time for a presentation is the same, that means the author(s) have withdrawn their submission. We may have assigned a new speaker to that slot.  Please pause the session during this time and facilitate discussion.


Due to global time differences, some speakers may have to be given the option to pre-record their talks. We (the conference hosts) shall play any pre-recorded presentations from a central server when you tell the host to start the presentation recording. There will be a technical support person at Yale SOM available to help

Checklist for Session Moderators


  • Arrive at the Zoom meeting room at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the session. You and the presenters for your session will be held in a waiting room. The host will let you in prior to the session to allow introductions and set up. Please familiarize yourself with the host of the session by using the Chat feature in Zoom. Check your connections. Technicians will be on hand to assist you if necessary. If you encounter problems, you should alert the host of the session.

  • Start the session on time. Briefly introduce yourself (with your video on), announce the first paper and author, and start the timer.

  • Please adhere to the time schedule listed in the Program to help the attendees who may be interested in specific sessions and papers. Note: Any time used by the speaker and/or technicians/host to set up laptops for PowerPoint presentations is to be deducted from the time allocated for the talk. Please remind the presenters to test their presentations and screen sharing on Zoom in advance.  

  • We suggest that you allocate about 75% of the session time for presentations and 25% for questions and discussion. If there are three papers in a session, you may decide to allocate 23 minutes to each presentation and 7 minutes for discussion of each paper. Explain the time allocation to the presenters and the audience prior to the start of the session and repeat during the session as you consider necessary.

  • Please request that speakers stop talking when their allotted time is up in a courteous but firm manner. Time alerts when five and two minutes remain may help. As a courtesy, the last speaker of the session should not be left with less time than the first two speakers.

  • Should a speaker fail to appear, you may reallocate the time, or allow the preceding discussion to continue, or recess the session until it is time for the next scheduled paper. At the end of the session, call again for the regularly scheduled paper, if time permits.

  • If any problems arise that you are unable to handle while chairing the session, please inform the host of the session. The host (or co-host) will try to handle and help with any technical questions and problems. 

Session Speakers Best Practices (from Zoom)

Before your Meeting

  • Plan a rehearsal

  • Have the content you intend to share prepared ahead of time

  • Depending on the size and complexity of your session, schedule a rehearsal with presenters and stakeholders a few days prior to your event. Test any sharing and security features you may wish to utilize.

  • Create a backup communication plan in case there are connection troubles and test it during rehearsal

  • Prepare your environment and equipment

  • To minimize background noise, find a quiet environment and use a headset with a microphone

  • In order to best light your face, lighting should come from in front of you or from the side

  • Select a space with a neutral background

  • Connect via wired Ethernet jack when possible to prevent wifi issues

  • Test your Audio and Video

  • Close applications that have pop-ups

  • Look your best

  • Put your webcam at eye level or higher and experiment for best angles

  • Make eye contact - try to look at your webcam versus the screen

  • Wear neutral, solid colored clothing. Avoid black, white or striped clothing.


During Your Meeting

  • Engage with attendees

  • Use the gestures and mannerisms (e.g. Raise Hand) that you would typically use in person (Hosts cannot use the Raise Hand feature)

  • Use Gallery View for smaller group meetings to get a better view of all attendees

  • When sharing your screen, share specific applications versus your desktop to control displayed content

  • Use the New Share feature to seamlessly transition between shared applications

  • Mute your microphone until presenting/speaking

  • Use the video for better participation; add a photo to your Zoom profile, if video sharing isn't appropriate

  • Visit the Zoom Quick Guide for additional attendee engagement tips


Secure Your Meeting

  • The most important step to ensuring that Zoom sessions are successful is to use the most up to date version of the software and check for updates often.  

  • Regularly update Zoom - Reinstall the newest version of Zoom, if updating is ineffective

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