Protocol and Guidelines for Moderators of Live Networking Sessions

Alligatoroid skull,  Naturkundemuseum Karlsruhe, photo credit: C. A. Brochu

Protocol and Guidelines for Moderators of Live Networking Sessions

Each live networking session theme will be assigned two moderators. Their roles are to moderate the live networking session associated with their theme.

Roles of moderators regarding the live networking session associated with their theme:
Each theme is linked to one live networking event. The two moderators act as chairpersons of the live networking session. We encourage presenters to participate in the relevant live networking event if possible, but recognize that time zone differences may make this challenging for some. For this reason, presenters may ask a co-author to act on their behalf during the networking session if preferred. The main purpose of the live networking event is for attendees to ask live questions to the presenters. Presenters will not deliver a live version of their presentation during this session. The live networking event will be broadcast through Zoom Meetings with presenters and attendees appearing either via camera or represented by their names. You will be asked to log in to your relevant zoom session 15 minutes before the start of the session where a technical host will introduce you to the live platform (see below).

To facilitate the Live Networking session, the roles of the moderators are as follows:
Moderator 1. Oversees the chat function and opens the live discussion to attendees wishing to ask a question.
Moderator 2. Oversees the attendees at the live session; ensures all attendees are represented by their official names and have muted their microphones unless asking a question.

The live networking sessions shall proceed as follows:

  • Attendees join. Moderator 2 checks that all attendees are represented by their official name, all microphones are muted, no inappropriate backgrounds.
  • The session starts promptly, with Moderator 1 welcoming attendees, introducing themselves and Moderator 2, and outlining the purpose of the live networking session. We suggest a statement such as
    • “Welcome all attendees to the [insert theme] live networking event. The main purpose of this event is to ask the talk and poster presenters questions about their presentation and discuss any topics or themes arising from the presentations or related to this theme. If you would like us to pose a question, please write your question and to whom it is directed, in the chat box. If you would like to ask a question directly, please write your name in the chat box. This session is [insert duration] long, and so five minutes before the end we will be starting to close discussion. We remind you that all interactions during this live event are subject to the meeting Code of Conduct and sanctions may apply for violating this code. Also, please note that this session is being recorded and will be posted to the virtual meeting platform.”
  • Please make sure you refer to the Code of Conduct in your introduction.
  • Moderator 1 then opens the discussion with questions received via the chat function.
  • Moderator 2 continues to monitor attendees and assists Moderator 1 in monitoring the chat function.

Some tips and pointers:

  1. If questions appear slowly, read them in the order you receive. If you receive many questions at once, choose which question to ask. If possible, ensure that a diverse group of individuals are able to ask questions.
  2. If someone types their name into the chat, tell that person to unmute themselves and to go ahead with their question.
  3. Do not let a few people dominate asking questions unless there are no other questions forthcoming. Encourage questions from other attendees.
  4. If questions to presenters cease to be forthcoming during the session, please prompt attendees for general questions, and be prepared with a few conversation-starter questions of your own.
  5. If discussion reaches a natural end before the end of the session, don’t be afraid to draw the session to a close early.
  6. Keep an eye on time. Notify the audience five minutes before the end of the session and wrap up the session promptly. Remind attendees that they can still ask asynchronous questions via the Q&A chat associated with each presentation. Thank presenters and attendees for their time.
  7. As moderator and session co-host, you will have the ability to force mute all attendees, or individual attendees, as well as control camera on/off for individuals.
  8. You may caution attendees or presenters in the same way that moderators at an in-person meeting may oversee the civility of scientific dialogue. If you feel that the Code of Conduct has been violated then please send an email to the address as soon as possible. As moderator and session co-host, you will have the ability to remove attendees from the chat if an individual is disrupting the session. If you do this, please email after the session to inform us of any action taken.

Expectations of moderators – to do ahead or at the start of the meeting:
Before performing the role of moderator at the virtual Annual Meeting, we ask that you:

  • Familiarize yourself with the meeting code of conduct including the process of reporting a complaint via the email address.
  • Familiarize yourself with the Guidelines and Expectations for Presenters and the Guidelines and Expectations for Meeting Attendees.
  • Familiarize yourself with the structure of the meeting platform and ensure you can navigate to your theme.
  • Note the time and date of the live networking session associated with your theme, taking into account any time zone differences. Ensure to the best of your ability that you will have adequate internet connectivity during your assigned networking session.
  • As you would for a normal moderator role, familiarize yourself with the talk titles, lead author and co-author names of the talks and posters in your Live Networking Event.
  • If you are unable to perform the role of moderator during the live session or at any point during the Mon-Fri meeting, notify the Program Committee Chairs, Mark D. Uhen and Lindsay Zanno as soon as possible to arrange a replacement.

Technical Assistance or Questions:

And finally: Thank you for taking on this important role, ensuring that the meeting runs smoothly and that attendees can engage in live discussion of presentations and topics of interest. We appreciate it!

For Anonymous Reporting, here is the link: (scroll down the page to “Make a Report”, and select “SVP”).