Guide for Pre-recording

As a session chair, you will be responsible for making sure the speakers have a smooth and comfortable recording/presenting experience. All recording details will be handled by the AV support staff; you will only need to manage the speakers and their presentations.


Three main tasks:

  • MC the session (provide intros, handle Q&A, etc.)

  • Care for the speakers (tech check, keep time, etc.)

  • Insure a smooth recording (mute other panelists, fix issues)


Before the session / recording session:

  • Be familiar with Zoom Webinar basics, and the talks in your session.

  • Communicate with the speakers for your session to confirm schedule, clarify talk details, and confirm how long each talk/presentation should be (15 minutes max)

  • Log in 15-20 minutes early to welcome speakers as they arrive. You will log on through the link emailed to you.

  • Make sure your onscreen displaying name is correct; update/rename yourself if need be. Remind panelists to rename themselves correctly as needed.

  • Keep an eye on the chat feature, in case a speaker is stuck in the Attendee mode. If so, promote speaker to panelist:

promote panelist.png
  • Conduct tech checks with the speakers before their talks:

  • Ensure their slides/presentations can be viewed in screenshare, and that any video files run smoothly with audio.

  • Check their audio & video clarity

  • If needed, offer suggestions to improve lighting/visibility on screen

  • Spotlight the speaker:

  • Inform speakers that Q&A will be at the END of the talk, and will last 3-5 minutes.

  • Inform speakers that if there’s a technical issue in the first 30 seconds, start the presentation over. If there’s an issue in the middle, we will edit it out later; simply fix the glitch, and then have the speaker start again at the beginning of the interrupted sentence.

  • Timekeeping: Remind speakers they have 15 minutes for their talk. Tell them to “pin video” of your (session chair) video during their talk; this means they can see you even when they’re presenting, so that you can cue them for time if needed. You can also simply unmute yourself and remind them at the 1-minute mark; we will edit out any interruptions in the final video.

Once the session / recording session is running, you will act as the MC of the event:

  • At the beginning, let everyone know what to expect: the talk lengths, that the Q&A will happen after the talk concludes, and that all other speakers should mute themselves when not presenting.

  • Text-based questions from the audience are invited in Q/A feature or chat during the talk.  If the speaker has co-authors present, they are welcome to answer these questions (in the Q/A feature or chat) live during the talk.

  • There will be Q/A at the end and the audience can “raise hand” to be unmuted to ask a live video/audio question.

  • Announce to the audience/attendees: they should say “Hello” in the chat box, so they can view who else is in the audience. They are not visible to other audience members otherwise, so this will make the experience more interactive.

  • Spotlight the speaker’s video.

  • Introduce the speakers to the audience: Wait to do this until they are ready, their video is on, and their slides are shared/ready.

  • Make sure all other panelists, including you, are muted and video OFF during presentations.

  • Moderate the Q/A period (have a question ready if none are immediate from the audience)

  • Be sure to check both the chat and the Q/A for questions

  • You may read questions from the chat or Q/A if there are any that are still unanswered.

  • Make sure speakers stay within their timeframe (15 minutes). To remind speakers of time: You can visually cue them if they have pinned your video. Otherwise, simply unmute yourself and remind them at the 1-minute mark; we will edit out any interruptions in the final video.

  • Prioritize a good recording; staying “on schedule” is not as important as having a good recording, as we can edit the recordings later to trim them to the correct length.

  • Manage the transitions between speakers.

  • Make sure all other panelists are muted & video OFF while a speaker is recording/presenting


The VirtualChair A/V support will assist the session chair as necessary. All recording details will be handled by the VirtualChair AV person.


Notes on Zoom Webinar:

The audience (“Attendees”) isn’t able to interact directly with you, they can only talk in the chat and Q&A. Session chairs are in charge of moderating between audience and speaker; they must be aware of how and where to interact with audience members (chat feature, Q&A). Keep an eye on the chats and Q&A boxes, as this is the only way to interact with the audience.


Speakers and session chairs will be on the panel. They should join the panel automatically when they log in; if they somehow get stranded as an audience member, promote them to panel. Do not demote a speaker from the panel.


Viewing modes: Speakers should pin the video of the session chair; session chair should select “speaker view.” All panelists not actively presenting their talk should be muted and video OFF.