Guidelines & Zoom Instructions (Session Chairs and Moderators)

1. General Responsibilities of a Session Chair

  1. Coordinate, moderate, organise and manage the session, including Q&A (NAME: Session Chair).
  2. Introduce the session, and then each author/paper-title before their presentation.
  3. Take chat questions during the Q&A, moderate the discussion, and announce who is next to speak based on participants who "raise hands".
  4. Read the questions and comments to the presenting author during the Q&A portion.
  5. Ensure that the timing of presentations is strictly adhered to. It should not exceed the allocated time.  
  6. Conclude and summarise the main takeaways of the session.
  7. Prepare a final Congress report (if you are a Track leader) for the closing plenary. The report will be included in the Congress Recap document as well.  

2. Detailed Zoom Guide for Session Chairs

Zoom Setup: Please download and install Zoom Client for Meetings onto your device well in advance. We recommend using a computer, laptop or tablet instead of a mobile phone. 

How to join the session as Session Chair:

*All registered participants (presenters and regular attendees) will receive an email reminder containing the links to access all meetings the day before the scheduled events and on the day itself. Similarly, these links will be available on each session in the Detailed Programme.

  1. Be online and arrive 10-15 minutes before your session.
  2. There are two ways to join a session and you may choose whatever is most convenient for you:
  • If you already know which session/s you are chairing or moderating, you may simply click on the appropriate link in the email you will receive the day before the scheduled event and on the day itself. 
  • In case you don't remember which session/s you are chairing or moderating, you may find it on the Detailed Programme. You must first log in to your account on the Congress website and find the session you are moderating at the 'My Schedule' or 'Sessions I am speaking at' tabs on your Dashboard. When you click on the session, it will redirect you to that session in the detailed congress programme. The session displays the countdown and, fifteen minutes before the session begins, it shows the 'Join on Zoom' button.Graphical user interface, text, application Description automatically generated



Before the session:

  1. Please make sure to have the presenting authors' details printed somewhere to introduce them timely before each presentation.
  2. If possible, prepare some slides providing an overview of the session's programme and a list of presenters.
  3. We will inform you who the host/administrator of your session will be. 
  4. If you would like to do polls, please send them to the host/administrator the day before the session. 
  5. Remember to check the settings of your Zoom profile: name/background.
  6. Familiarize yourself with the participant controls in the lower corner of the Zoom screen:


Using the icons in the lower corner of the Zoom screen, you can:

  • Mute/Unmute your microphone as well as attendees
  • Turn on/off camera ("Start/Stop Video")
  • View participant list – opens a pop-out screen that includes a "Raise Hand" icon that you may use to raise a virtual hand
  • Share your screen.

During the Session:

  1. Join the session in advance and test your microphone, audio, and camera once joined so the session can start on time.
  2. You will be assigned as "co-host" on Zoom. Find more information regarding Zoom controls for co-hosts here.
  3. Please rename yourself in the following manner: "Your Name (Session Chair)".
  4. Turn on your video to engage the attendees during the session introduction.
  5. Guide the discussion by opening and closing each presentation.
  6. Be always visible on video when you assume an active role.
  7. Control the time and stick to the schedule. If necessary, gently but firmly interrupt speakers when they exceed their time limit. 
  8. For the Q&A rounds, prepare questions/comments in advance to warm up the discussion.
  9. From time to time read the chat (encourage the use of it as well), where a lot of interesting comments and questions come in.
  10. Coordinate with the session's host/administrator in case you need assistance outside their predefined tasks.
  11. After each session, encourage participants to informally meet, get to know each other, and continue the discussion.

Sharing your Screen: The instructions to share your screen when presenting can be found here.

Sharing Computer Sound During Screen Sharing: The instructions to share computer sound (when sharing a video or audio clip) can be found here.

Suggested tools to make your sessions interactive and collaborative:

  1. Poll Everywhere: https://www.polleverywhere.com/
  2. Mentimeter: https://www.mentimeter.com/
  3. Miro Board: https://miro.com/
  4. Metro Retro: https://metroretro.io/ 

Breaks: In between the time slots of each Congress day, there will be a 30-minute break. You may get a snack, stretch, and come back refreshed. 

Zoom Virtual Background: You may use virtual backgrounds as you prefer. You may also download here the official virtual background for the ISOCARP 2021 Congress. Please note that this feature works best with green physical background and in a room with sufficient lighting. Check out the instructions to set up Zoom virtual backgrounds via this link

Slide Template: The general PowerPoint presentation template for Congress can be downloaded here.