Facilitator and Presider Instructions

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*If a session has a moderator or a chair rather than a facilitator, the following responsibilities will be performed by the moderator or chair. All sessions should have a presider. In some sessions, the facilitator and the presider are the same person.


Before the Conference

  • Read presenter biographical material obtained from each presenter before your session. If you have not received the material from the presenters by Oct. 12, contact your section chair or Cindy Winter ([email protected]) to obtain this information.
  • Plan ahead. Prepare your introductions, expectations for the session, discussion questions, and materials you may need prior to the session so that all is ready when the session starts.
  • Connect with the presenters in the session before the conference. We encourage you to discuss expectations for the session.
  • Schedule a practice time with the full group before presenting live. This will help you practice and get comfortable with the technology.
  • Know where to find support if any issues emerge during live sessions. There will be an NCFR representative in every session that can assist. Additional support channels will be available during the conference.
  • Be comfortable with Zoom. See the list of Zoom resources above. www.youtube.com/channel/UC2SxmE4C-KAQuHaEfHVymgQ

During the Conference


  • Your session will be started by NCFR Zoom Support 15 minutes prior to the start of your session. Presenters will enter a waiting room. NCFR Zoom Support will elevate the presenters to a presenter role. Attendees will be allowed into the session approximately one minute before the start of the session by the NCFR Zoom Support person.
  • Arrive 15 minutes early to your session to check in with the presenters and NCFR Zoom Support. This will help you work through any technical difficulties before the session begins, coordinate last-minute details, and build rapport with each of the presenters to create a comfortable environment.
  • You can access your session by logging into Whova, the conference platform, and navigating to your session in the agenda.
  • The session will be recorded automatically for use on demand.
  • Put participants on mute who may not have done so themselves to avoid extraneous noises. 
  • Welcome everyone to the session at the beginning of the session with the session title, date, and session number. 
  • Introduce yourself and your role.
  • Provide the ground rules of the session:
    • o Everyone should be on mute during the session, except the presenter during their presentation time.
    • o Share how questions should be asked after the presentations, what to expect for the discussion, and how to communicate with one another. You are setting the standard for the session. Question and discussion functions depend on session type. Additional information is provided below under session types.
    • o When questions will be answered (after each presentation, at the end of the session)
    • o Notify the participants that session handouts are located on the session page in Whova, the conference platform. Not all presenters may have uploaded handouts.
  • Introduce the presenters. You may choose to introduce the presenters between presentations while screen sharing changes from one presenter to another. Introductions should be no more than three minutes total.
  • Be an active listener. This will help you facilitate the questions.
  • Write down additional questions during the presentations to use during the discussion time, if necessary.
  • Facilitate questions. See additional information below under Facilitating Live Q&A below.
  • Mute yourself when not contributing.
  • If your internet connection gets glitchy, disable video.
  • Thank everyone for attending at the end of the session.


  • Presiders will monitor time and provide presenters with time limits. You can notify presenters privately through chat when they have 5 minutes and 1 minute left of their presentation. If the presentations are too long, you may have to interrupt the presenter. Time limits are noted under each session instructions.
  • All panelists/presenters must be given an opportunity to present before the discussion.
  • Monitor the for questions. Questions will be asked through chat, a questions box, or live when an attendee raises their hand. How questions are asked depends on the session type. Feel free to answer any questions you can.

Facilitating Live Q&A

All presenters, facilitators, moderators, presiders, discussants, and chairs should have their cameras on during the live discussion period. Participants in interactive sessions may choose to have their camera on as well.


  • Presiders will provide you with the questions to ask from the chat box.
  • Facilitate live questions after the presentations. The presider will provide the questions to ask.
  • Invite all attendees to participate. Remind them how to ask questions. If a discussion does not begin, ask one of your preplanned questions.
  • Give everyone time who wishes to talk or ask questions. Each question or comment should be around one minute each. Tactfully intervene if a person takes too much time.
  • Keep the discussion on topic and progressing.
  • Maintain professionalism and objectivity.
  • Be flexible. Ensure everyone gets a chance to ask questions equally from the various methods of asking questions.
  • Allow a bit of silence after a question so people can think, respond, and to use the technology. Remember that sometimes people need a moment to collect their thoughts. Silence may be okay. However, if there aren’t any questions, ask your previously prepared questions to facilitate the discussion.
  • Help clarify questions as needed.
  • Be enthusiastic.
  • Be calm and have a sense of humor, especially if technical difficulties arise.


  • Review the questions before providing to the facilitator. If there are several questions of the same topic, paraphrase to ask them all.
  • Presenters may choose to answer in the chat questions that arise during the session. Be careful not to ask those questions again.  
  • Take notes as needed through the session.
  • Presiders should work with the facilitator to run the session.

Extra Facilitator Instructions: Interactive Poster Sessions

  • Email each presenter in the session in October. Each presenter should have only 1 slide with 3 bullet points. You will receive presenter contact information to email everyone.
  • Curate all slides into one slide deck in the order that presentations are listed in the conference program. Create an opening slide with the title of the session and session number.