Stage Manager Guidelines
Stage Managers play a role similar to AV technicians at a physical conference. It’s their responsibility to look after all of the technical aspects of a live session.
Note: Within Webex Events, Webex refers to the Stage Manager role as "Host".
A Conference Organiser needs to assign 1 main stage manager to host each stage, plus a back-up person on each stage who can take on the role if the original manager runs into issues. As each person needs to be trained and comfortable with Webex, it's a good idea to limit live stages to a number you can comfortably run with the team you have.
Stage Manager responsibilities
At its core, the role of the Stage Manager involves:
- Hosting the Stage
- Prepping the Stage set up
- Recording the Webex Event
- Promoting/Demoting Attendees to Panelists
- Passing the Presenter role to Active Presenters
The Conference Organisers may add to or adjust the scope of the role based on how they want their event to run.
This article details the different responsibilities and steps you’ll need to complete to ensure you’re successful in your role as Stage Manager.
Table of Contents
1.Before the Event
Ensure System Access
Create & Run a Rehearsal
Finalise Technical Set Up
Gather Session/Event Information
2.In Preparation for Going Live
Start the Live Stage
Note Host Key
Share Holding Slide
Promote/Demote Attendees to Panelists
Share Attendee Guidance
Manage/Run the Session
1. Before the Event
Step 1) Ensure you have system access
In order to fulfil the role of Stage Manager you must:
- install Webex Events
- be added as a Stage Manager to the Ex Ordo system by the Conference Organiser
- be added as a Webex user by Ex Ordo Support
- activate your Cisco Webex account by clicking the link in the email received
- be added as a Stage Manager to a stage day
If you are not sure about any of these, please contact the conference organisers directly.
Step 2) Create and Run a Rehearsal
It's important you take time to create and run your own rehearsals in Ex Ordo. Through practice you will become more comfortable with the role. For instructions on how to create and run a rehearsal, see this article: Create and Run a Stage Manager Rehearsal
Step 3) Finalise your technical setup
Ensure you are familiar with the following technical recommendation and specification.
- We recommend that the Stage Manager have a reliable Internet connection; fibre connected via a corporate / university connection over a wired cable where possible (avoid WiFi if you can).
- You must host the live stage on a Windows or Mac laptop or desktop computer. Otherwise, you won’t be able to access it.
- Make sure your computer has all the necessary upgrades installed.
- For other technical specifications, check out this article: Technical Specifications for Joining a Live Stage
Step 4) Gather Session/Event Information
It’s important to be prepared and have a list of speakers and presentations to hand. Gather or create a list of presentation timings to make sure you stay on track. You'll need this checklist to know which attendees to promote at the right time. You can also distribute it to others involved. If you will have a back-up Stage Manager in attendance, share it with them too.
Step 5) Prepare Files
If you’re sharing presentation slides on behalf of the presenters, ensure you have them organised in advance so you can share them in the correct order.
Holding slides are a great idea to share at the beginning of your session as attendees join or during breaks. Sharing some information via slides can help assure your attendees that they’re in the correct session. The Conference Organisers may provide you with branded slides which could include a welcome slide, session information, or break slides to use. If not, consider creating some yourself.
If you will have a back-up Stage Manager in attendance, make sure they also have access to all necessary files.
2. Prepare for going live
Step 1) Start the Live Stage
Check out this article for a step by step guide: Starting your Live Stage.
You should start your stage at least 1 hour before the stage is due to go live for attendees to join. This gives you some breathing room to start hosting and prepare for the sessions ahead.
Step 2) Change settings
Once you start hosting your stage, you can enable and disable the different Webex features and settings depending on which ones you plan to use. These include:
- Enable / Disable Panels: Chat, Q&A, Polling, etc.
- Enable attendees to chat to “All Attendees” (if using Chat)
- Disable Attendee View (if not wanted)
Enable / Disable Panels: Chat, Q&A, Polling, etc.
To enable and disable panels for the Webex Event, use the menu at the top of your screen and select View>Panels>Manage Panels. Here you can add and remove whichever panels you want to sue for the session.
Note: Every time you pass the Presenter or Host role, the chat and Q&A panels will reset to on. So you will need to keep removing them after taking these actions.
To turn off chat and Q&A entirely, you can do so by clicking on Webex Events at the top of your screen. Go to Preference>Tools, and untick those you want to remove. They are now removed for the entire Stage Day.
Enable attendees to chat to “All Attendees” (if using Chat)
By default, attendees are not allowed to chat with each other, they can only send messages to Stage Managers, Presenters and Panellists. If you would like attendees to have the option to chat with “All Attendees”, you can turn this option on.
On the menu bar, navigate to Participant>Assign Privileges>Attendees. In the Communications tab, you can select who they can chat with. Check “All Attendees”.
Disable Attendee View (if not wanted)
By default, attendees are able to view other attendees’ names in the participants list. You can turn this view off if you wish. Navigate to Participant>Assign Privileges To>Attendees. In the “Controls” tab, uncheck "View Attendee List" and click "Assign" to save the change.
Step 3) Make note of Host Key
In Webex Events, the Stage Manager is referred to as the "Host". In the unlikely event something should go wrong with your computer or internet connection, someone else will need to take over your Stage Manager duties.
If someone in the event has the “Host Key”, they can easily claim the Stage Manager/Host Role and step in to run the stage.
We recommend taking note of the Host Key and sharing it with your backup Stage Manager (if you have one).
The Host Key can be found on the Stage Day Page under Webex Meeting Host Key.
To claim the Stage Manager role in Webex, any attendee can navigate to Participant>Reclaim Host Role and enter the Host Key.
In Webex Events, the Host Key can be found under 'Event Info'.
Step 4) Hit Record
If you’re planning to record the event, you could begin now or wait until just before the session kicks off.
In the tool bar along the bottom, select Record >Record to Cloud.
We recommend that you Stage Manager stop recording after each session. This will ensure each session is recorded as a separate file, and will make it easier to share session recordings on-demand later on.
Note: If you are sharing your screen, you might not see the option to start a recording in the orange toolbar that drops down from the top of your screen. You may need to stop sharing, begin the recording as instructed above, and share your screen again.
Step 5) Share holding slide
As we spoke about previously, holding slides are a great idea to share at the beginning of your session. The slide may include the session title, sponsors, upcoming speakers, etc. It’s a nicer experience for delegates when joining the stage to see this visual.
At this point, you can share the slide using 'Share Screen'. For more info on screen sharing and how to do so in Webex Events, see this article: Sharing Content on a Live Stage
Bear in mind that everything on the screen you share is visible to those watching. This includes but is not limited to bookmark bars, open tabs, and notifications that pop up/slide in. These notifications could include social media, WhatsApp, personal email and other DMs like Slack. Consider turning off notifications and removing any personal or private information ahead of the stage day you're hosting.
Note: When sharing your screen, your Webex view will change and your toolbar will be along the top. You will need to reopen your panels including participants, chat, etc. More info here: Screen Sharing: Webex In Event Controls
1. Stage Goes Live
Now you’ve started hosting the event, your audience & presenters will be able to join as attendees as soon as the stage goes live in Ex Ordo. This will be the start time of the first scheduled session on the stage.
Step 1) Monitor Attendees & Promote Panelists
As folks are joining the event, you can monitor the Attendee list for those who are taking part in the session. All speakers and session chairs will access the event as Attendees. It’s your responsibility to promote them to Panelists at the appropriate time, so that they can use their camera and microphone to talk about their work and answer questions.
You can view your Attendee list via the Participants button. For details on how to promote attendees to panelists check out this article: Promoting Attendees on your Live Stage
Note: If sharing your screen, the participant panel will be in the drop down toolbar at the top of the screen shared. More information here: Screen Sharing: Webex In Event Controls
We advise that you ask Session Chairs/Speakers/Keynotes etc. to join the stage 15 minutes before their session starts. They can message you directly using “Chat” to let you know they are there.
Step 2) Share Attendee Guidance
- Finding panels (e.g. Chat and Q&A) & How to Use
- Webex Viewing Options
Finding panels (e.g. Chat and Q&A) & How to Use
Take a moment to show Attendees how to access and turn on the different features you’re using, e.g. chat, Q&A.
- Attendees can turn on the Chat panel by clicking the speech bubble on the toolbar.
- Attendees can turn on the Q&A panel (and any other panels being used) by clicking the three dots for 'More Panels' at the bottom
At this point, if you want attendees to chat with "All Participants" call this out and instruct them how to do so.
If using Q&A to take questions, advise Attendees to send questions to “All Panelists” to make sure they get answered.
Webex Viewing Options
Inform the audience how they can change the video camera layouts of those presenting in the session using the controls in the top right hand corner. Changing this view may be a more enjoyable experience for them.
- Grid View: This will show all speakers onscreen at the same time.
- Active Speaker View: This will show one speaker at a time.
- Floating Panel: This will allow you to go full screen with the video.
If there are any further housekeeping items you want to address with your Attendees, do so now.
Step 3) Manage Speakers
If you have not already promoted your upcoming session speakers to Panelists in Webex, do so now.
- Speaker Reminders
- Passing Presenter Role
- Unmute Attendee
Remind everyone who’s going to be speaking during the session to:
- Wear headphones when speaking to prevent feedback / echo.
- Mute yourself when not actively speaking.
Passing Presenter Role
If the speakers have something to share as part of their presentation (e.g. PowerPoint slides, Keynote, PDF), you’ll need to pass the Presenter role to them. They can then share their screen to present the content.
To do this, find the speaker’s name in the list of Panelists, right click on “Change Role To” and click “Presenter”.
Once finished, the current Presenter can pass the role to the next Panelist who needs to present, or the Stage Manager can do so.
At some point you may want to allow an attendee to speak without turning on their camera. For example, you may let attendees ask their questions verbally during a Q&A. To do this, simply unmute attendees from ‘View All Attendees’ in the Participants Panel.
Step 4) Record the Event
As detailed previously, if you have not started recording yet, do so now. See Step 4 under ‘Preparation to Go Live’ for details.
Step 5) Manage / Run the Session
At this point, the session should be underway and your speakers will be doing their thing. You’ll need to be there throughout, hosting the Webex Event, promoting folks to Panelists when needed, passing the presenter role to active speakers, and generally ensuring the smooth running of the session.
You may also be managing the different panels being used, e.g. Chat and Q&A. For more details on managing those, check out this article: Managing Chat and Q&A during the Event