Moderator Guidelines

Before the Conference

  • You must register for the meeting by the Advanced Registration Deadline.
  • You will receive an email with the schedule of your session as well as a link to view your session online and a link to complete your disclosure.
  • Approximately two weeks before the conference, email presenters to confirm their attendance. Presenter contact information can be found in the Online Program in your session listing.
  • If a presenter cannot attend, contact the program planner immediately so the presenter can be removed from the program.
  • Remind presenters to upload their presentation in advance (if they haven’t already) and ask them to arrive at the session 10-15 minutes early.
  • Ask presenters if they have embedded sound in their presentation. If so, they must notify APHA in advance.
  • Familiarize yourself with your presenters. You’ll be introducing each presenter at the session. You will receive a link to download the bios from your presenters the week of the meeting.
  • Answer presenter questions. If presenters have questions, you can direct them to the following resources:
  • Please note: Presenters must be individual members of APHA and registered for the meeting.


  • Arrive 10-15 minutes before the session starts to check equipment, make sure each presentation is loaded, meet presenters and resolve any last-minute issues.
  • Brief each presenter on how the session will be conducted, including when and how time warnings will be communicated. 
  • Start on time. This is extremely important to ensure each presenter has her/his allotted time as well as having time for questions and answers. 
  • At the start of each session, request that the audience silence their cell phones.
  • Introduce all presenters in the order listed in the program. Be sure to mention each presenter’s name, affiliation and presentation title.
  • Presenters should present in the order listed in the program.  If a presenter is a no-show, readjust the order accordingly.
  • Keep presenters on time. Use the time remaining cards to let them know when their time has expired.
  • End the session on time. Close the session by thanking presenters for presenting.  
  • Encourage attendees to evaluate the session in the Mobile App so APHA can improve the quality of the meeting.

For Oral Sessions

  • Check to make sure all the 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:
    • Computer
    • LCD projector and screen
    • Podium w/ Microphone
  • Familiarize yourself with the Confex Podium Technology, how to select pre-loaded PowerPoint presentations, how to begin a presentation, etc.
  • Remind presenters that they must speak into the microphone (this is both for the benefit of the audience and for ensuring high quality session recordings).
  • Remind presenters that they must verbally disclose any financial support or conflicts of interests.
  • If possible, have 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.
  • Promote physical activity during your session:
    • Have participants stand up when they're asking a question or sharing an opinion/idea
    • Encourage participants to stretch or move around during session
    • Lead a 1-2 minute movement break in between presentations or before Q&A

For additional ideas, see APHA Healthy Meeting Guidelines: Physical Activity (PDF).

For Roundtable Sessions

  • It is recommended that moderators for roundtable sessions begin the session by introducing the speakers and topics to be discussed at each table and inviting the audience to gather around the table of interest to them.
  • After 30 minutes, the moderator should indicate that the first part of the session is over, re-introduce the speakers (and topics) at each table and invite the audience to move to another table and repeat this process for a total of three times during the 90-minute session.

After Session

  • Thank presenters.
  • Following the session, please send a brief email to presenters thanking them again for their presentation.
  • Share feedback with the program chair. If you have any feedback on the format, planning or individual presentations please complete the moderator feedback form (DOC).

What to do if...

  • You can no longer moderate a session: Let the program chair know immediately so we can find a replacement. Program Planner information can be found online.  Any attempts to locate a replacement moderator will be greatly appreciated.
  • A presenter has not uploaded her/his presentation: Presentations can be uploaded in the speaker ready room at the property where the session is scheduled 16 hours before the session starts or at the podium on the day of the session. Find the presenter’s name in the session line-up, and follow the uploading instructions.
  • 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 program chair 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 APHA staff.

Accessibility Guidelines for Session Moderators

  1. Prior to the Annual Meeting, request that presenters on your panel make their presentations and handouts universally accessible to all attendees.
  2. Send presenters the Guidelines for Accessible Presentations in advance. 
  3. Encourage presenters to make a copy of their presentations/slides to give to sign language interpreters if necessary.
  4. Make sure there is enough light in the room for sign language interpreters to be easily seen. Avoid a totally dark room.
  5. Sign language interpreters should sit or stand close enough to the presenter to hear the presentation and near enough to deaf persons for signs to be easily seen.
  6. Avoid pointing to something on the slide and using words like “this, that, these, and those”, unless you indicate what “this” means. Example: This map shows…, These results indicate…”. Not “This shows…”
  7. Speak directly into the microphone. Do not cover your mouth when speaking.
  8. Speak clearly at a moderate pace.