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Meeting Essentials for Chairs

2020 Virtual Annual Meeting > Meeting Essentials > Chairs

Action Items

  1. See Managing a Virtual Session
  2. Check your email; we sent a message on October 9 about how to coordinate with the Zoom Monitor we have assigned to your session.

Before the Conference

Please take these steps:

  • Contact AFS, if necessary, to prevent recording of your session by October 1.
  • Contact AFS if you require a volunteer Zoom host for your session or if you do not require a volunteer Zoom host by October 1.
  •  Encourage your panelists to submit all of their AV files to Open Water by October 7. Files can be uploaded using this form.
  • If you do not already have the email addresses for presenters on your panel, contact Ben Bridges at to obtain them.
  • Review our Guidelines for Accessible Virtual Presentation to consider what steps you can take to facilitate participation by all attendees.
  • Contact your panelists and ask if anyone does not want to be recorded. If so, contact us at as soon as possible. In addition, please confirm after your session that no mistakes are made in this regard; if a video is posted, contact to request that it be removed.
  • Communicate with your panelists about their technical needs. Remind them to submit AV files on the conference platform in advance to minimize technical difficulties during the session.
  • Discuss with your panelists all other arrangements and expectations to facilitate the meeting. See our usual Suggestions for Session Chairs. Consider how you may adapt the virtual platform to your session’s specific needs.
  • We have arranged volunteers to help manage Zoom meeting functions, including managing chat and participants, so that chairs and panelists may concentrate on the discussion itself. We have emailed Chairs and Volunteers with information about how to coordinate. Please contact if you didn't get that message, and reach out to your Zoom Monitor to establish your expectations about the support you will require.
  • See Managing a Virtual Session for more particulars about how to navigate your Zoom session.

During the Virtual S

While many of the same rules apply to chairing a virtual session as to an in-person one, chairs of virtual meetings also have certain additional responsibilities.

  • If you have panelists who do not want to be recorded, say so at the start of the session and before each presentation, since all attendees with the know-how can create their own recordings of proceedings.
  • As co-host, you or the Zoom Monitor may be called upon to hit “play” on your presenters’ AV files hosted on the conference platform. This is a good back-up method if the presenter has difficulties sharing media from their own devices.
  • Zoom has a number of tools through which attendees can communicate non-verbally with each other publicly and privately, including text chat, participant list icons, and emoji reactions. Establish policies ahead of time for how you would like attendees to communicate during live discussion portions of the session. Inform all attendees of these procedures at the start of your session.
  • Be ready to step in when technical difficulties are disrupting your session. As Zoom host or co-host, you and your Zoom Monitor have the ability to control screen sharing, mute, unmute, and eject participants as needed.

For general Zoom help, please consult Help with Zoom.

See Open Water help for instructions about how to access the platform; the access link is posted to the 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting page.

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