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Moderator Instructions
 WATERCON2020 -  Moderator Instructions and Guidelines


Thank you for agreeing to be a moderator at WATERCON.  Moderators at WATERCON play a critical key role in the overall success of the conference. It is the Moderator's responsibility to professionally represent ISAWWA, and optimize the value of the session to those that have chosen to attend it over other conference options. 

The overall goals of the Moderator include:

  • Preparing in advance by touching base with presenters and getting familiar with their presentations
  • Introducing session speakers and presentations in an engaging manner
  • Moderating the session, strictly adhering to the conference timelines
  • Prompting and facilitating questions and discussion for meaningful interaction
  • Ensuring a professional and comfortable atmosphere for all session participants
  • Ensuring that all attendees can hear the presenter well throughout the room

The instructions and guidelines that follow were prepared to assist you with moderating a successful session and meet the expectations for Moderators at WATERCON. 

We use a platform called OpenConference to manage our abstracts.  You can get to the open conference login page by going to >  select from the top menu  Presenters  >  about half way down the page - select  Submit Abstract. There you will find the conference abstract management page.

When you originally signed up as a reviewer of papers, you created a login and password. Use that login and password to sign in as "SESSION CHAIR".  (see pic below)


How to access sessions assigned to you as moderator. 

Now that you are logged in, you will see the sessions assigned to your track,.  Each presentation has a link for the presenter,  any pictures they uploaded and the powerpoint and pdf if they uploaded it.  The powerpoint will be used for the presentation and the pdf (if they uploaded one for the handout)  If there is not a powerpoint, please contact them via email link and ask them for a copy of their powerpoint so you can review.  They also still need to upload it so that we can put it on our session computers in advance.

If you come across a powerpoint that says "Too Large to Upload", we have provided a copy of the presentation in PDF form for you to review.  It is uploaded under the PDF Handouts.

If the speaker created starter questions, you will see a file to download that is marked questions.

See example picture below.

Thank you for your participation!  Your successful moderation will make a big difference in the session.

Instructions and Guidelines

1.            Pre-conference Preparation

  • Review abstracts selected for the session
  • Reach out to speakers and introduce yourself as the Moderator.  Give the speaker feedback on his presentation - both positive (and negative, if need be)
  • Review powerpoints via the openconference site for those assigned to your track. If an abstract appears to lean towards a sales pitch, you may want to suggest to the presenter to revise it to be less sales and more technical.
  • If the powerpoint is not on the openconference site, email the presenter with their contact information from the openconference site and ask them for their powerpoint.
  • Review biographies – condense to approximately three sentences focused on personal education and experience relevant to the topic being presented.
  • Most sessions are limited to 30 minutes, including the Q&A portion.  If the powerpoint has a large amount of slides, you may want to suggest to the presenter that they condense the presentation.


2.            At the Session

  • Room Set Up

i.             Arrive early to the session room to check the room set up

ii.            Confirm functionality of lighting and audio visual equipment

iii.           Pick up your speakers' thank you gifts and attendee count sheets from the conference registration desk any time prior to your session. Also included in this package is the listing of your presenters, abstracts, their biographies as submitted, and any starter questions that they submitted. You can pick this up at anytime at the conference.  You may want to get it a day in advance to give you time to look it over.

iv.           Each computer has the laser pointer in the room already

v.            Please leave all of the equipment in the rooms as you found it


  • Organizing the Speakers and Presentations

i.             Look for each presenter and seat them close or convenient to the podium

ii.            Ensure each presentation is preloaded and ready to present


  • Introducing the Session

i.             Welcome participants and introduce the session track

ii.            Ask that cell phones please be muted

iii.           Introduce and explain CEU’s – CEU’s are recorded by completing the one question survey for each session.  The link to each individual session survey can be found in the online conference planner at or

iv.           Operator renewal training credit is automatically recorded by completing the survey – and then recorded in their ISAWWA training record

v.            Point out any other relevant room / session logistics


  • Introducing the Speakers

i.             Each speaker has put a lot of time into their presentation and is volunteering their time to present at WATERCON. Introduce the presentation titles and present the speaker bios in a professional, welcoming, and promotional manner.

ii.            Be sure the speaker is speaking into the lapel microphone.  Place it on the side of their shirt where they will be looking at their computer and talking into the mic.

  • Keeping the Session on Time

i.             Watch the time closely to keep presenters on schedule

ii.            Provide a “5 minutes left  and “1 minute – wrap up” signal to the presenter using the flash cards that will be in your moderator package onsite

iii.           Stand near the presenter or front of the room when time is up to begin questions and discussion facilitation

iv.           If a speaker ends early – create a question and answer dialogue to fill the rest of the time.  If a speaker is no show- take a break – do not start the next presenter early.  Keep on time.


  • Facilitating Questions and Discussion

i.             Sometimes the most meaningful part of a presentation to the participants is the questions and discussion portion that follows it. From your pre-conference review and correspondence with the presenters, have two open-ended questions ready to spark conversation and provide additional understanding of the presentation. It is acceptable and encouraged to coordinate the questions in advance with the presenters.

ii.            Address audience questions in the order that you see hands go up

iii.           Repeat or paraphrase each question if it is difficult to hear in the room

iv.           End the questions and discussion on time to introduce the next presentation.  Announce that the presenters will be around to answer more questions after the session (if they will be)


  • Session Closing

i.             Thank everyone for attending the session

ii.            Thank the presenter and give them their thank you gift (if it is their first presentation)

iii.           Mention what’s next on the program (if appropriate)

iv.           Fill out the tracking sheet (in your moderator package) that asks the number of people at the middle and end of your session.

v.            Return all paperwork to the conference registration when completed.


  • Things to Watch Out For

i.             We will have internet access on each computer via browser. The wifi code is winter20.   Presenters are not to load anything on the computer at any time. PowerPoints will be on the desktop sorted by day and by session.

ii.            Overloading the system.  DO NOT OPEN EACH OF THE POWERPOINTS IN ADVANCE.  Open just the presentation that you need.  Close the one that just finished before you open the next one.  Do not leave them all open on the computer as it is not made to run multiple PowerPoints at one time.

iii.           Passwords on the computers.  All passwords have been removed from the computers.  If you happen to get a password login screen – try hitting enter.  If there was a password in the past, that password is taped to the key pad of the computer.

iv.           Watch for presenters not using or speaking into the microphone.  If you put the wireless mic on them, put it on the side that is nearest the screen so that they are not turning away.   Step in the back of the room, if you cannot hear them, stop and adjust.  It does no good to have a 30-minute presentation that people cannot hear.  The presenter does not know that his/her mic is not transmitting.

v.            For technical issues – text 815-970-2145  Laurie.  Be sure and tell us what room you are in and if you can, what is the issue.


Thank you very much for your time and efforts to contribute to a successful WATERCON.  Your participation as a moderator makes a huge difference in the technical session experience for the attendees.  Thank You!



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