Moderator Guidelines

A moderator is someone who arbitrates a discussion, indicates when a presenter can speak and coordinates question and answer sessions. If you have volunteered to be a moderator, please follow the guidelines below:

Time Allotments

All oral presentation sessions and pre-formed panels have been allotted one hour and thirty minutes. In a panel with four (4) presenters, each presenter will get 15 minutes to present. In a panel with five (5) presenters, each presenter will be given 12 minutes to present. The following 15 minutes will be allotted to questions and answers. The final 15 minutes should be left so participants can move from one session to the next.

During the Sessions

  • Please arrive 10-15 minutes before the session begins
  • Meet with the presenters and brief them on how the session will be conducted and remind them of the time they are allotted for their presentations. Let them know how you will communicate time warnings throughout the session
  • Please make sure you begin every session ON TIME. This will ensure that every presenter has equal time to present their abstracts
  • Start each session by requesting that participants silence or turn off all cell phones
  • Introduce all presenters in the order they appear on the program. Mention the presenter’s name, title and the organization they are affiliated with for this event
  • If a presenter does not show up to the session, readjust the order of the presentations accordingly
  • Use time cards to ensure presenters are staying on time during their presentations
  • Always end the session by thanking the presenters

What to do if…

A presenter will not stop talking:  It’s important to establish the rules with presenters before the session. Explain the importance of staying on time.  If a presenter is going over time and showing no signs of stopping, stand next to the person as yet another visual cue.  If this doesn’t work, 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: If possible, jot down a few questions that you can ask of each presenter in case this happens.

A presenter does not show up: Contact the room monitor to notify them of any presenters who do not show.

An attendee is being unruly:  Establish the guidelines for the session before 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 or to staff.

Guideline sources: