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:
Duties of the moderators include:
Prior to the Summit
- Familiarize yourself with the abstracts that will be presented during your assigned session
- Familiarize yourself with the guidelines for presenters and the format of the session you are assigned to
- Identify common themes, topics, or issues that cut across the abstracts in your session
- Contact the presenters in your session at least three weeks prior to the Summit (e.g., no later than the week of Nov. 13th) to introduce yourself and review the guidelines for presenters in that type of session
- Request a short biographical sketch (name, title, institutional affiliation) from each presenter to be used when you introduce speakers
- Request draft copies of any presentation materials (slides, links to websites, links to Multimedia products, etc.) at least one week prior to the Summit (e.g., no later than Nov. 25th) from each presenter
- Begin to identify discussion questions that could be asked to catalyze interaction with the audience after the presentations are made
Prior to the session
- Greet presenters when they arrive and introduce yourself
- Verify presenters’ bio data and how to pronounce their names
- Verify that their presentation materials are ready and uploaded to the laptop in the seminar room (technical staff will be available to facilitate that process)
- Determine the order of presentations (usually the order in the program is fine, but you may change that order if you think it will improve the flow of the session or if one of the presenters is absent)
- Inform the presenters about the time limits for each presentation (see guidelines documents) and how you will enforce those limits during the session with time check/reminders
During the session
- Welcome the audience and state the name of the session
- Introduce yourself as the moderator with your name and institutional affiliation
- Describe briefly the structure of the session (e.g., “We have four presenters in this session and each will have 12-13 minutes to present. I will introduce them and keep time so that everyone has equal opportunity to share their ideas. Please hold your questions until all four presenters are finished, then I will open the floor for questions and moderate the discussion.”)
- Briefly introduce the first speaker with a few details from their bio sketch (name, title, institutional affiliation) and start timing when the speaker begins
- Inconspicuously provide timing reminders with times written on flash cards or sheets of paper (e.g., “5 minutes remaining…2 minutes remaining…1 minute remaining…Please end”)
- When each presenter finishes, thank them for their presentation and introduce the next speaker.
Please note that due to time constraints, CommTalks sessions will not have time for questions. For all other sessions, below are suggestions for how to facilitate questions and answers
- When all presenters have finished, invite members of the audience to raise their hands to ask questions directed to specific speakers or to the group as a whole. Ask that questions be kept short and to the point. (If questioners launch into lengthy personal comments, feel free to politely interrupt in the interest of time and refocus the questioner on issues for the speakers.)
- Invite panelists to respond to the question.
- Call on people in turn to ask questions.
- If questions are not forthcoming from the audience, feel free to ask a question of your own that you may have prepared beforehand or that that has occurred to you during the presentation. This can help catalyze discussion and may spark others to ask questions.
- At the end of the allotted session time, thank the presenters—perhaps with a brief summary of key points or takeaway ideas—then thank the audience and end the session.
Please note that moderators should not use their position to make personal statements or critiques, or to deliver information about their own work. Your role to is to help highlight what presenters have to offer and draw out thoughtful reactions from the audience. It’s not about you.