Moderating a session at GIS-T is a privilege and a responsibility. A good moderator can establish a friendly atmosphere in the room, make the speakers feel welcome, and go a long way toward ensuring that each session is a success. Here are some of the duties a GIS-T moderator has to ensure an effective session:
- Room Check: Plan to arrive in the room (20 minutes before the session starts). Check to be sure everything is in order and working. Conduct a sound check to make sure all the microphones are working. Let conference personnel know if there are issues with the sound or AV equipment.
- Making Introductions: Get familiar with the speaker biographies well before the session. Read the presenter bio(s) before each presentation. Be enthusiastic; enthusiasm is contagious and will help the speaker hit the ground running.
- Running the Clock: It is your responsibility to keep speakers within the time limit so they all get a chance to talk. Review with your presenters how the session will go. Show them that you have 10 min and 5 min timecards so that they will know how much time they have left. Each presentation will be 30 minutes, including any audience questions. Speakers may take questions as they go; if it appears that questions may make it difficult for them to finish the presentation, remind the audience that there will be time at the end for additional questions.
- Conducting the Discussion: After the last speaker, it is likely he or she will invite questions but if not, it is your role as a moderator to welcome questions. Someone may ask a question but it is possible that the audience will be silent. While listening to the presentation you should prepare a question or two of your own if possible.
- Ending the Session: Let the presenters and audience know that the session is coming to an end by announcing, “We have time for one last question.” After a last question thank the audience for coming, and thank the speakers and then lead a round of applause. It’s okay to end a little early, but not okay to run long.
Moderators will also attend a mandatory “training” session with the Moderator Chair. When you have been notified that you’re a moderator, more information about the training and session will follow.