Guidelines for Facilitators

Thank you for contributing to the success of this year’s Annual Meeting by being a Facilitator of a breakout session. Facilitators play a key role in determining how attendees experience the Meeting. The facilitator should strive to help session participants get the most from the presentation and help the presenter have their ideas clearly communicated and engaged. These are some general guidelines that past facilitators have found to be good practices. REA members value participatory discovery and dialogic engagement. Please help the presenters model good modalities of collective inquiry. Do not hesitate to contact our Executive Secretary with questions or suggestions of your own.

Before the Annual Meeting

  1. Read materials that will be discussed prior to the beginning of the meeting.
  2. Get to know the presenters. Session papers and contact information for presenters may be retrieved from the meeting schedule.
  3. Contact the presenter(s) prior to the meeting and discuss issues such as
    • the order of presentation
    • arrangement of the room (if in person)
    • whether to have discussion after each paper or after all presentations
    • personal information that might be useful in introducing the presenter(s)
    • any special requests for the session.
  4. At least a week before the meeting all facilitators will be able to find their session’s Zoom meeting on the schedule under the menu to the left of their session (where the microphone symbol is). Feel free to practice in the actual meeting in which you’ll be facilitating.

In the Session at the Annual Meeting

  1. If in person: Check room arrangement and make necessary adjustments. Avoid excessive space between attendees; aim for a conversational setting.
  2. If virtual: Arrive at the session about 15 minutes early so that you can test your connection, camera, microphone, and also get any updates from the session host.
  3. Start on time, regardless of attendance.
  4. Introduce the presenter(s) and offer a brief overview of how the session time will be spent. For example, “we will hear two presentations for the next 30-40 mins and then move to discussion for our remaining time.”
  5. Briefly introduce some session guidelines
    • Participants are expected to have read papers before the meeting. If you have not read the paper being presented, allow those who have done so to start the discussion.
    • Listen actively with a spirit of curiosity.
    • Try not to deviate too far from session and paper topics.
    • Practice generosity; assume good intentions.
    • If virtual: The tech host for the meeting will begin by explaining the basic meeting functions of Zoom. Everyone will be muted on entry, so speakers will need to unmute (you might need to remind them of this), and during the discussion everyone should be muted unless they are talking. You can remind people to use the chat feature and others like “raise hand,” and any session notes, such as the facilitator will be looking at the chat for questions during discussion.
  6. Maintain time limits on each presentation to ensure there is adequate time for all presenters.
  7. Open the floor for discussion once the presentation(s) have been completed.
  8. Don’t dominate discussion and don’t allow others to do so.
  9. Call the session to a conclusion 5 minutes before the scheduled ending time and thank those in attendance for their participation. Ask them to complete the session feedback survey (this will be put in the chat window and is also available on the schedule) in the remaining time.
  10. Record the number of attendees in the session.
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