Moderator Guidelines and Resource Center


We are looking forward to your session at the ASHG 2021 Virtual Meeting! Please find below all of the information and resources you will need to prepare for the Virtual meeting. To participate as a moderator in your session, you must register for the ASHG 2021 Virtual Meeting. As a moderator, your role is to introduce the session, manage speaker flow and moderate the questions.

Advance Preparation

  • Please review all information in the Know Before You Moderate guide. 
  • Download Zoom so you can access the session as a moderator. You will be sent a custom link in advance of your session.
  • Slido will be used to manage the Q&A portion of the session. If using your web browser, then there is nothing to download. You only need to download the Slido app if you plan to access this via a tablet or mobile device. You will be sent a custom link in advance of your session.
  • View the Speaker and Moderator Orientation/Preparation slides
  • If you missed the orientation/training sessions held on October 5/6, please view a recording of the training here.
  • Plan for a 60 second introduction stating the name of the session, session type/format and list of speakers. You will do this live.
  • Each speaker will prerecord their talk which will be uploaded in advance (due September 24). You can view the presenter resources page to review what speakers have been instructed.
  • The Q&A portion will be moderated live. Attendees will ask questions via chat in the platform chat tool.  For plenary and platform presentations, please ensure you stick to the allotted time of 5-minutes for Q&A. For invited sessions, Q&A varies and is usually at the end of the session not after each talk.
  • We suggest you prepare 1-2 questions for each speaker to kick off the Q&A portion and discuss your role with your co-moderator in advance.

The Day of Your Session

 Using the zoom link sent to you in advance, join the event at least 30 minutes prior to the start of your session. This will ensure your connectivity is working and that you are able to familiarize yourself with the environment.

  • A virtual technician, PC Member and ASHG staff member will meet you once you arrive at the Zoom link. Introduce yourself and let them know you are a moderator. Both the technician and staff member will remain online for the entire session.
  • ASHG will pre-load all presentation slides prior to the day of the event in the correct speaker order
  • Use Google Chrome (preferred) or Firefox as your browser on a laptop or desktop.
  • At the beginning of the session:
    • Introduce yourselves.  Note: ASHG will have a title slide for the session and we have provided a brief video related to ASHG policies that will be played at the beginning of your session.
    • STAY ON TIME! Moderators are the timekeeper and facilitator of the session. It is required that all sessions run on time and that the speaker order does not change.
    • If a speaker does not show up, please announce this noting that live Q&A will not be possible.
  • During the session:
    • Monitor the Q&A box and pull questions for the live Q&A. Attendees will not be able to ask questions via video or microphone, only via chat in the platform.
    • Q&A portions of sessions:
      • For Plenary and Platform sessions: the moderators will begin the 5-minute Q&A session after each talk/presentation.
      • For Invited sessions: all Q&A will happen at the end of all talks.
      • When necessary, cut off question periods to stay on schedule.
      • Encourage diversity among the question askers by prioritizing diverse attendees for the first question when possible (e.g., a trainee). Research shows that beginning the Q&A period this way will encourage overall diversity during Q&A.
      • If a speaker has technical difficulties, please move on and suggest the speaker try to answer the questions via chat.
    • It is very important that you mute your microphone during presentations. If you need to chat with speakers or moderators during a presentation, please do so using the chat in Zoom (not the platform chat).


  • Remove all distractions from your background.
  • Mute anything that may buzz or beep, turn off your email pop-ups, etc.
  • Wear solid colors or jewel tones. Navy looks better than gray or black. Avoid stripes, small patterns or wild patterns.
  • Plug in your laptop power source to avoid a dead battery.
  • Speak straight into your camera. Your webcam should be at eye level.
  • Wear a headset for the best audio and change your computer’s audio settings to be input and output through the headset and its mic.
  • If sharing internet with others, ask them to minimize their internet use during your session. Try to turn off any devices you do not need turned on during the live event to avoid low internet connectivity.




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