skip to main content

Session Chair Resources

Session Overview

For each scientific session, all presenters will receive instructions via email on how to access the Zoom room where they will present their talk. The room will hold the session chair and all presenters from the specific session.

The session will be broadcast onto the Freeman platform where all other registered attendees can watch the presentations on a web browser, text chat with other attendees, and submit their questions.

Questions will be read by the Session Chair and answered by the presenter. Immediately after the session is complete, there will be a link on that particular session page to a Zoom networking room (Hallway Networking) dedicated to that specific session to have a video chat interactively and discuss the presentations.

Guidelines for Session Chairs

Note all session times are Central Daylight Time on the APS epitome, however, the times listed on the April Meeting platform will automatically adjust to the timezone of your computer.

The Day Before Your Session

(1) Watch the Session Chair and Q&A Training Videos (see sidebar)

(2) Ensure You are Registered for the Meeting
You must be registered in order to chair. Please register now if you have not already done so.

(3) Update Zoom
Please make sure that you have the latest version of the Zoom application uploaded on your computer. Learn how to check if you’re running the latest version of Zoom here.

(4) Prepare Your Optional Informational Slide
Make an informational slide to display to the audience before the start of your session. You will share your screen in order to allow the audience to view it. We recommend including the title of the session, your name as the session chair, and the time the session starts/ends. Click here to download and view an example slide for session B01, “Recent Results on Pulsar Timing Astrophysics”.

(5) Confirm Your Session Time on the APS Epitome

(6) Visit the Speaker Ready Room
This will be a Zoom room where you meet with a meeting technician who will test your microphone and camera connections, as well as check your backgrounds and general environment. The speaker ready room will be available Friday, April 16–Tuesday, April 20 from 7:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. CDT.

Please note that this is a separate zoom link than your session link. The Zoom link to your session was emailed to you on Tuesday, April 13.

(7) Obtain a Timing Device
We recommend that you use your cell phone or a kitchen timer to help you keep track of each speaker’s time. See below for talk time specifics.

The Day of Your Session

Your Links

These links were emailed to you on Tuesday, April 13. They are specific to you and are the only way you will be able to enter the session room and access the Q&A.

(1) Green Room/Virtual Session Room

You will enter the green room where technical support technicians will test your computer’s audio and visual quality. From here, the technician support technicians will move you to your session zoom room. Note, only the chair and speakers will be in this room, attendees will view the presentation from their web browser.

(2) Q&A (Slido)

Slido is the website you will be using to receive questions from the audience. You will use the link below to receive questions, which you will then read out loud for the presenter to answer. Important! You are required to create a free Slido account, so please use the link (provided on Tuesday, April 13) to create your free account before the start of the meeting.

Your Responsibilities

  • Keep the speakers and audience informed about the session. Information provided below in ALL CAPS (steps 2 and 3).
  • Moderate Q&A through Slido (step 4).
  • Keep the live speakers on schedule. On-demand presenters will not be present during the session. Attendees will view On-demand presentations on the website at their own discretion.
  • Optional: Attend the post session networking event (step 5)

Important Information

(1) Entering the Green Room

  • Enter the Green Room/Virtual Session Room AT LEAST 45 minutes and no later than 30 minutes before the start of your session.
  • Identify yourself as the session chair to the support technician.
  • Technical support staff will help you test your video, audio, and screen sharing.
  • You will use the Slido feature to moderate Q&A during the session. Create a free account if you have not already done so.
  • Virtual platform technicians will transfer you from the Green Room to your Session Zoom Room.

(2) You Are Now in Your Virtual Session Room and Are Setting Up

  • Call roll 10 minutes before the session is scheduled to start
  • Between 2-7 minutes before your session begins, a virtual platform technician will enter your session and let you know that you are “live”. “Live” means everything that your camera and microphone captures will be broadcasted to all attendees in your session. Please mute yourself at this time unless addressing the audience.
  • Once the session is live, you may share your screen to show your informational slide (if you have prepared one).


  • To mute themselves unless they are speaking.
  • Speakers and chairs will be able to communicate with each other via the Zoom chat. Audience members will not be able to see this chat.
  • Review the session order, the Q&A procedures (you will ask them the questions by unmuting yourself), and how you will communicate that their talk is soon ending/completed. We recommend establishing a tone or sound that you will play to alert speakers their time is coming to a close or has ended.

(3) Starting the Session

  • Remind speakers to mute themselves before you begin the session.
  • Start the session on time by unmuting yourself and turning on your camera, then briefly introducing yourself and your session.


  • To adhere to the APS Code of Conduct
  • They can submit questions through the Q&A window on the right hand side of their screen and that you will read the questions aloud for the presenter’s response.
  • Do not put questions in the chat window. You (the chair) will not see them there.
  • If your questions are not answered due to time constraints, there is a post session opportunity where speakers and attendees can network in a zoom room for 30 minutes after the session. To access this they need to scroll down and click on the “Join After Session Networking” button after the session has ended.

(4) Moderating the Q&A

  • Attendees will type their questions in a chat window on the Virtual April Meeting website, then these questions will appear in your Slido window.
  • Use your best judgment to choose which questions to read aloud. Be sure to approve the question so the audience may view it on the website. Watch the Q&A Training Video for details on approving a question.
  • Once you read the question, the presenter will be able to answer orally.
  • Adhere to the time limits below. Note that there may be exceptions in your session so please review your session in the APS program.
Allotted Talk Times
  • Contributed: 12 min talk = 10 mins presentation + 2 mins Q&A
  • Invited: 36 min talk = 30 mins presentation + 6 mins Q&A
  • Non-Standard Example: 24 min talk = 20 mins presentation + 4 mins Q&A

(5) Ending the Session

  • If time allows and a speaker did not appear for their scheduled time, please do a final call for the absent speaker at this time.
  • If the session ends early, and there is interest from the attendees, please feel free to continue the discussion until the allotted end time. However, the session MUST end at the scheduled time.
  • Inform the audience that there will be an interactive networking session immediately following the session and to access it they should click on the dark red button labeled “Join After Session Networking”. It is located on the left side of the session screen, midway down. Since you will not be able to access this from your Zoom window, please bookmark your session on the April Meeting website for easy access after the session.

Important FAQs

  • What is the recommended course of action if a presenter is experiencing technical difficulties during their presentation?

The presenters have been instructed to leave the presentation zoom room, then return. Before returning, they will be assisted by technical staff that will ensure their computer is functioning properly. If the presenter returns before their time has ended, please allow them to present for the remainder of their allotted time. If the presenters’ time block has passed and there is time remaining at the end of the session, you may allow them to present at that time.

  • What should I do in the case a speaker is not present at the time of their talk?

If a presenter arrives after the session has already started, they have been instructed to use the session zoom chat to message you, the session chair, upon their arrival. If the presenter has not messaged you and it is their time to speak, unmute yourself and call for the presenter by name to confirm they are not present. At this time, please allow the preceding discussion to continue until it is time for the next scheduled presentation. At the end of the session, if time allows, call for the speaker again.

Getting Help During Your Session

Click the “Ask for Help” button at the bottom of your Zoom window. Next, you will click the “Invite Host” button and a virtual platform technician will be notified that you need assistance. The technician will enter your session and communicate with you via the zoom chat.

For Code of Conduct violations, please use one the following methods:

  • Use the Ethics Point website or phone number:
    Online: or Phone: (844) 660-3924
  • You may ask technical support to cut off someone who is violating the Code of Conduct, if appropriate.