You've been selected as a moderator. Thank you for volunteering! Once you know the specific session you'll be moderating, review the list of speakers and titles and think about any issues related to unfamiliar terms, acronyms, and especially, names of the speakers. We are a diverse and international society. Out of respect for the speakers, learn how to introduce their research and pronounce their names. Regarding dress code: the official dress code for APS meetings is "business casual". However, it wouldn't hurt to kick it up a notch for a day if you are to serve as a moderator. In most cultures this a sign of respect towards the speakers and the audience.
On-site and online orientation for moderators. Once you are notified of your selection as a moderator, be sure to attend any orientation sessions that are held on the earliest days of the meeting. You may also be provided with links to online videos and materials on APSnet.
The day of the session. Find the room where the session is scheduled and walk through the physical layout so that you become familiar with entrance and exit locations, audiovisual and lighting controls, traffic flow during transitions between speakers, and where you will be positioned during presentations vs. during introductions. Know the mobile number of the APS staff person who should be contacted if there is a problem.
Immediately before the session. If possible, arrive at least 15 minutes before the session begins. This will give you time to introduce yourself to the speakers, verify correct pronunciation of their names and presentation titles, address any questions they might have, and deal with any last-minute issues.
As the session begins. Have planned introductory/instructional remarks, and know beforehand how much time you will need to complete your remarks. Welcome the audience and speakers, announce that the session is about to begin in X-minutes, and ask the audience to take their seats. Your introductory remarks should clearly state the ground rules for the presenters and the audience:
Introducing speakers. Respect and brevity are the governing principles. Even if you know the speaker very well, if they are a PhD introduce them as "Dr" _____. Save any witty comments at the speakers expense for meeting over a beer later. The audience might perceive disrespect rather than informality, familiarity, or humor in your remarks.
Questions from the audience. The moderator should control the flow of questions from the audience, request questions (or not if time has run out), and end the question period when the allotted time has expired. Encourage questioners to be brief, and answers from speakers to be succinct. Repeat questions for the audience if they are not stated clearly or are inaudible. Be prepared to ask a germane question of the speaker yourself to model audience engagement in the session. Clearly signal to the audience when allotted time has expired, initiate applause, thank the speaker, and move on to the next presentation.
Concluding the session. Announce that the session has concluded, and thank the audience and speakers for their participation. Report metrics on attendance at the session to APS staff.
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