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Tips and Guidance for in-room WebEx Moderators

Sometimes, such as our Global DPCA Meetings, we need to combine remote WebEx participation with a gathering of people in a conference meeting room. This becomes much more complicated than when remote individuals are each sitting in front of their own personal computer.

Participants in a meeting room can easily forget about the remote participants on WebEx. Having dedicated WebEx moderators will help keep the meeting together and create a more positive experience for everyone.

These Moderator Tips are intended to provide orientation and guidance to moderators who may be new to WebEx and help them to create a successful and productive meeting.

Key Points To Remember:

  1. Make sure that people in the room do not forget about remote WebEx participants
  2. Make sure that remote participants do not disrupt the room with audio-feedback or other noise
  3. Keep everyone engaged and communicating with each other – but don't flood the chat box
  4. Always use the chat box to "Everyone" to request **Hand Up to manage the speakers queue 
  5. Know how to reach one of the in-room technical specialists in an emergency

Responsibilities

  • WebEx moderators are responsible for helping to make sure that there is smooth communication between people in the room and the remote WebEx participants – you are the "bridge" between these two groups
  • Much of the communication for remote participants will be in the WebEx Chat box, so you need to always be monitoring this.
  • Unless it is really one-to-one personal communication, encourage participants to address their comments to "Everyone" – especially if it is a request to speak, or a notification of a problem with WebEx communication
  • Don't let the people in the room forget about the WebEx participants – you are there to represent them and speak for them in the room
  • Take turns and share the moderating responsibility so that one person is not left to do the job alone

Presentations

  • Make sure that presentation documents are loaded from the DA Wiki to the WebEx whiteboard in advance.
    • Presentation materials are always best shared as PDF files, rather than Word, PPT, or other files 
    • Convert files to PDF before uploading to the WebEx whiteboard 
  • Make sure that in-room Presenters use the WebEx whiteboard for presentations – do not let them just open a file on the desktop
  • Help the podium Presenters to learn how to move from page-to-page in their presentation
    • Offer to help manage their presentation slides for them, if they are not comfortable with this.

Moderating the Meeting

  • Test your pc/workstation prior to the meeting. Ensure that audio works.  Always use a headset if your computer is connected to audio.
  • Keep active discussion going in the WebEx chat box so that people know you are there, but don't flood it with too many messages.
  • Enforce the **Hand Up to "Everyone" in the chat box rule to keep a clear indication of who is in the Queue to speak next. 
    • Remind participants of this rule periodically with a message in the chat box
    • (We do not recognize the "Hand up icon" option in WebEx.  It is only seen by the presenter/host and does not show who is next in line)
  • Provide a regular update of the names of people in the Queue by retyping the list in the chat box
  • Keep all participants on MUTE if they are not speaking to the meeting
  • Help ensure that individual participants who are having technical issues do not interrupt the meeting 
    • Encourage them to connect with you or another support person via a personal Skype chat, if needed
  • Always encourage remote participants to use the Call Using Computer VoIP audio, NOT the US-based phone number
  • It is helpful to re-type questions to the speaker into the chat box so that everyone can follow the discussion.

Host, Presenter, and Moderator Team Work

  • Host and Presenter need to closely cooperate and share the work load
  • With a large number of remote participants and a group gathered in the room, it is too much for one person to do both rolls
    • Host is responsible for keeping everyone on mute and fixing the focus of the video presentations
    • Presenter manages documents and slides in the white-board area 
    • Presenter manages the screen that people see in the room – from full video display to seeing the Chat box
    • Moderator makes sure that WebEx participants are recognized in the room, that the Question Queue is tracked, and that in-room activities (e.g.: coffee breaks, voting, etc.) are communicated to WebEx participants.
  • Have the Meeting Host Key number ready, in case something happens to the Host computer and you need to reclaim control over the meeting

Staffing and Team Members

  • Team Lead – someone who is responsible for the overall coordination, staffing, network, and hardware set up.
    • Do not assume that someone else will "make it happen" – get confirmations on all the details
  • On-site tech-team – providing the A/V setup of projectors, mics, sound board, cables
  • Network providers – to ensure Internet bandwidth. Often not the same people as the A/V equipment team.
    • providing both fixed line and WiFi connections for the room 
  • Host Manager (in-room or remote) – real-time management of participant mute controls and passing the Presenter
    • share Host Key with Presenter and Moderator Managers so that they can take control as needed
  • Presenter Manager (best if in-room) – preparing presentations as PDF files and uploading them to WebEx whiteboard
    • presentation slide transitions when the Podium speaker is not controlling the slides themselves
  • Moderator Manager (must be in-room) – monitoring the chat box, tracking "Hand Up" queue, keeping room aware of WebEx issues
    • always have emergency access to reach the tech-team and network providers

WebEx Login names

  • When you first login to WebEx from the in-room moderator computers use a name that describes that computer.
  • For example: (using the "!" in front of the name will keep it at the top of the alphabetical participants list)
    • !PuntaCana Hub
    • !PuntaCana Podium
    • !PuntaCana Moderator
  • Encourage all participants to include their DA Title/Officer position in their name when they sign in

Hardware and Technical Setup

  • Make sure that other WebEx participants in the room do NOT connect to audio (this can create terrible audio feedback)
  • If professional microphones and an Audio Mixer are being used, make sure that all webcam or computer microphones are turned off.
  • Use a personal headset/earphones (iPhone earphones work great) if you are connecting to audio or have any other sound coming out of your computer.
  • Make sure that all speakers in the room use a microphone AT ALL TIMES, or remote participants cannot hear anything.
  • Encourage speakers to stand where they can be seen by the webcam
  • Know how to immediately reach the Internet and Audio/Visual technical specialists in case something goes seriously wrong.
  • Projector screen must be big enough to be clearly seen by everyone in the room (two screens may be necessary in some situations)
  • Provide a monitor or second projection screen that can be easily seen from the podium


In-Room Audio/Visual/Internet Setup Schematic

Outline of the audio, video, and wired network connections that are needed to setup and manage a typical WebEx configuration in a conference room.

Notes:

  • This does not take into account additional WiFi networks that may be made available to in-room participants, but that network should be separated from the high-capacity Quality of Service wired LAN that is needed to ensure good video transmission in and out from the WebEx Hub computer.
  • In-room microphones may be either wired or wireless depending on the audio mixer setup

Webcam Positioning

  • Keep the Hub Webcam#1 always pointed at the speaker/presenter or main activity in the room
  • Set the Moderator Webcam#2 on the other side of the room and pointed for a general view of the room, so that remote participants can also see the in-room activities
  • Periodically adjust the camera angle to give a sense of room dynamics 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Notes on the Punta Cana mtg:

    Better to have 3 people in room to share presenter & moderator roles, to trade off. We had 2.

    Moderator support laptop was off in a corner, could not participate in meeting from there. Instead I used my own.

    Neither Julia as moderator, nor I as presenter, could upload a PDF to the WebEx tabs. Why? So far it's a mystery.

    A problem in practice: As presenter, I controlled which webex tab is shown, and clicked between slides. But only moderator (at hub) could adjust the vertical position and zoom of the displayed document. That was a pain.

    Managers lacked "ownership" of the Hub PC: Windows was in Spanish, including various error messages; and we depended on George to start it up in morning with log-in/password. Also it had a video/resolution problem: Windows came up full-screen, but the WebEx application filled only 2/3 of screen, and other third of screen was black and inaccessible! We could not access any other window with mouse. This is from my very brief time at the Hub PC.

  2. Merrill, based on my experience as a WebEx attendee this looks very comprehensive - I don't have anything to add.

    steve