Moderator Guidelines

Session moderators ensure Oral Sessions (virtual and in-person) run smoothly. Guidelines differ for virtual vs. in-person sessions. Be sure you are reading the correct instructions. 

General Information

  • Moderators do not need to become a member of APHA but must register for the Annual Meeting (full or one-day) by Sept. 24. 
  • All sessions are scheduled in Mountain Time (MT). 
  • All sessions are being recorded and will be available on-demand after the meeting. 
  • Presentations should be given in the order presenters are listed in the program. 
  • Once all presentations are completed, there will be time for live Q&A. 
  • The APHA Disability Section has developed additional information to assist you in developing an accessible presentation
  • Consider building some movement into your session. Encourage participants to stretch or move between speakers at the middle of your session. For additional ideas, see APHA Healthy Meeting Guidelines: Physical Activity (PDF). 
  • Contact your program chair (PDF) with any questions about your session. 

User Portal 

Your User Portal is the place to find all the sessions and abstracts linked to you, whether you are a speaker, author or moderator. From the User Portal, you can access your Speakers' Corner for each session you will moderate. In the Speakers' Corner you can find basic information and:  

  • Download presenter bios. 
  • View presenter contact information. 
  • Download the PowerPoint slide deck template.

Guidelines for In-person Moderators

Prior to the meeting

  • Two weeks before the meeting, email presenters to confirm their attendance. You can find their contact information in your Speakers' Corner. 
  • If a presenter cannot participate, ask them to go to their Speakers’ Corner and decline their participation. 
  • Remind oral session presenters to upload their presentation in advance and ask them to arrive at the session 10-15 minutes early. 
  • Familiarize yourself with your presenters. You will introduce each presenter at the session. Don't forget to download the presenter bios in your Speakers' Corner prior to arriving at the meeting. 
  • Remind presenters that they must verbally disclose any financial support or conflict of interest. 

Day of Instructions 

  • Arrive 10-15 minutes before the session starts. 
  • Make sure all equipment is working properly. If any equipment is not working properly, report it to a room monitor or an AV technician. Each room should contain: 
    • Laptop 
    • LCD projector and screen 
    • Podium with microphone 
  • The presenters’ PowerPoint presentations should be pre-loaded onto the computer in the room. Familiarize yourself with the Confex Podium Technology, how to select pre-loaded PowerPoint presentations, how to begin a presentation, etc. Instructions are on the computer.  
  • Brief each presenter on how the session will be conducted, including when and how time warnings will be communicated.  
  • Remind presenters they must speak into the microphone (this benefits the audience and ensures high quality session recordings and supports APHA's commitment to accessibility). 
  • Start on time! This is extremely important to ensure each presenter has their allotted time and has time for questions and answers.  
  • Introduce all presenters in the order listed in the program. Be sure to mention each presenter’s name, affiliation and presentation title. If a presenter is a no-show, skip their presentation and continue onto the next. 
  • Keep presenters on time. Use the time remaining cards to let them know when their time has expired. 
  • If possible, have a short question-and-answer time after each presentation so the Q&A can be recorded and connected with the appropriate presentation recording.  
  • During the question-and-answer period, moderators should always repeat the question for the audience. 
  • End the session on time. Close the session by thanking the presenters.   
  • If you have feedback on your session format, planning or individual presentations, please contact your program chair. 

What to do if... 

  • You can no longer moderate a session: Let the program chair know immediately so a replacement can be found.  Your help in identifying a replacement is appreciated.  
  • A presenter has not uploaded her/his bio: Remind the presenters to upload their bios to the Speakers’ Corner so you can access them. 
  • A presenter arrives onsite with the presentation on a USB Drive: Find the presenter’s name in the session line-up on the computer and follow the uploading instructions. 
  • A presenter will not stop talking: If a presenter is going over time and showing no signs of stopping, it’s perfectly acceptable – and respectful to other presenters – to say something to the effect that you hate to cut such an interesting presentation short, but in fairness to the other presenters, you must. 
  • No one is asking questions to some or all of the presenters:  Be prepared with your own questions in case this happens.  
  • A presenter does not show up: After the session, contact the program chair to notify them of any presenters who do not show. Be prepared to skip the missing presenter and continue to the next scheduled speaker. 
  • An attendee is being unruly: Establish the guidelines for the session at the beginning. If an attendee is being disruptive, ask that questions/comments be held until the end so that the session does not fall behind time. If the person continues to be disruptive, report it to a room monitor who will contact APHA staff. 

Guidelines for Virtual Moderators 

About Virtual Sessions 

  • Virtual sessions will be held in Zoom. View our tips for presenting in Zoom
  • We hope to assign a co-host to each session to assist you. Co-hosts will monitor the chat box and help identify appropriate questions for the Q&A segment. For more details, read the Co-Host Guidelines
  • The Virtual Meeting Vendor (Confex) will manage technical issues submitted in the chat box or by email. 

Prior to the meeting 

  • Two weeks before the meeting, email presenters to confirm their attendance. You can find their contact information in your Speakers' Corner. 
  • If a presenter cannot participate, ask them to go to their Speakers’ Corner and decline their participation. 
  • Your co-host will monitor the chat and send you questions to ask the presenters. Discuss with your co-host how they should send you the questions (i.e. text, email, Google Doc, private Zoom chat). 
  • Schedule a call or virtual meeting with your panelists and co-host to walk through the session and establish rules and expectations. Download the planning checklist (PDF) for your call with the presenters and co-host. 
  • View the sample run of show (PDF) to understand the flow of your session. 
  • Familiarize yourself with your presenters. You will introduce each presenter at the session. Don't forget to download the presenter bios in your Speakers' Corner prior to arriving at the meeting. 
  • Remind presenters they must verbally disclose any financial support or conflicts of interests. 
  • Ask presenters to send you a copy of their presentation by Oct. 18 to have as a backup in case there is an issue sharing their screen. 
  • Download the slide deck template from your Speakers’ Corner. The slide deck contains a title slide, housekeeping notes, list of speakers and closing slides. You will need to fill in the information for the title slide and presenter introduction slide. Share the completed slide deck with your co-host in case you have any last-minute technical difficulties. 
  • Remind presenters that all sessions are in Mountain Time and they should arrive 20 minutes early to their session. 

Day of Instructions 

  • Prepare your desktop for screen sharing: Have your PowerPoint Template open and close all other applications. 
  • Log in to the Virtual Meeting Platform with the email you used to register and your registration ID number.  
  • 20 minutes before your presentation, navigate to your session and click on the “Join Now” button to access your Zoom session. 
  • When you join the meeting, your video and microphone will automatically be turned off. Turn your microphone and video on to test the functionality. 
  • As the presenters arrive ask them to practice sharing their screen and testing their sound quality. 
  • It is possible that attendees will join the meeting while you are practicing. You and your co-host will both have co-host privileges in Zoom giving you the ability to turn off cameras and microphones for attendees. If an attendee has their microphone on and is disrupting your practice, please turn it off.  
  • Once the presenters are done practicing, share the Session Starting Soon Slide
  • Start session on time! This is extremely important to ensure that there is sufficient time for presentations and questions at the end. Remind presenters to wrap up if they are running over. 
  • During the session you will run through the Housekeeping slides, introduce each panelist before their presentations and manage the Q&A segment. See sample run of show (PDF). 
  • It is important to always have a camera turned on or have a screen being shared, otherwise attendees will only see a blank screen. Be sure you and the next presenter have cameras turned on as the next presenter prepares to share their screen.  
  • Presenters should present in the order listed in the program.  If a presenter is a no-show, continue without him/her and proceed to the next scheduled speaker. 
  • If a presenter is having issues sharing their screen, use the backup copy that was sent to you.  
  • There will be 15 minutes for Q&A at the end of the session. After the last presentation, share the Q&A Slide with instructions on how to submit questions. 
  • Read the questions for the audience and remind the presenters to keep their answers short so that we can get to as many questions as possible.  As you read the question, make sure to direct it to one of the presenters. 
  • End the session on time. Close the session by thanking presenters and by reminding the audience of the housekeeping notes. 
  • Share the Thank you Slide and leave it up for at least 10 seconds before you “leave the meeting.” 
  • Share session format, planning or individual presentation feedback with your program chair.

What to do if...

  • You can no longer moderate a session: Let the program chair know immediately so a replacement can be found. Your help in identifying a replacement is appreciated. 
  • A presenter has not uploaded her/his bio: Remind the presenters to upload their bios to the Speakers’ Corner so you can access them. Bios should be uploaded by Oct. 18 
  • Your co-host does not show up: Do your best to monitor the chat box during the presentations. A Confex Tech will be in and out of the session to answer technical questions. You may want to ask audience members to reiterate questions during the Q&A portion.
  • A presenter will not stop talking: If a presenter is going over time and showing no signs of stopping, it’s perfectly acceptable – and respectful to other presenters – to say something to the effect that you hate to cut such an interesting presentation short, but in fairness to the other presenters, you must. 
  • No one is asking questions to some or all of the presenters: Be prepared with your own questions in case this happens. 
  • A presenter does not show up: After the session, contact the program chair to notify them of any presenters who do not show. Be prepared to skip the missing presenter and continue to the next scheduled speaker. 
  • An attendee is being unruly: Establish the guidelines for the session at the beginning. If an attendee is being disruptive, ask that questions/comments be held until the end so that the session does not fall behind time. If the person continues to be disruptive, ask the Confex tech to remove them from the event.  
  • You are experiencing technical difficulties with the Zoom Platform: If you are experiencing technical difficulties and are in the Zoom Meeting, send a chat message. A Confex Meeting Professional is managing your event. You can also call 401-334-0220.