Stage Manager Guidelines (Webex Webinars)

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 Webinars, 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

Prepare Files

2.In Preparation for Going Live

Start the Live Stage

Change Settings

Note Host Key


Share Holding Slide

3.Event Live

Promote/Demote Attendees to Panelists

Share Attendee Guidance

Manage Speakers

Record Event

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 (On iOS Catalina and newer OS versions you will be prompted to set Security&Privacy permissions first. This will allow you use of screen share and microphone)
  • 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. 
  • Configure Chat to allow Attendee Messaging (if using Chat)
  • Disable Attendee View (if not wanted)

Enable/Disable Panels: Chat, Q&A, Polling, etc. 

To turn off chat and Q&A entirely, you can do so by clicking on Webex Meetings at the top of your screen. Go to Webinar Options, and untick those you want to remove.

They are now removed for the entire Stage Day. 

Configure Chat to allow Attendee Messaging (if using Chat)

By default, chat is private. Attendees can only chat with the Stage Manager (the Host role in Webex), and Panelists.

If you want Attendees to be able to chat with Everyone in the event, this needs to be enabled. 

To do so, go to Participant >Assign Privileges 

On the next screen, you can call you how attendees or panelists can communicate and with whom:

You should then instruct Attendees to select 'Send to: Everyone' when posting message in chat. 

Note: When this is enabled, Attendees can also send messages to 'All Attendees'. These messages can't be seen by Panelists or the Stage Manager. 

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…

This will open up a sub-menu where you can 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 Webinars, the Host Key can be found under 'Webinar Info'.

Step 4) Hit Record

Once you’re happy to begin recording, in the toolbar along the bottom, you will see the button to record. Select “Record”. As a default recording will be saved in the cloud. Don't change this setting.

We recommend that the Stage Manager stops recording after each session and start at the beginning of the next. This will ensure each session is recorded as a separate file and will make for easier downloading and editing post-event. 

If you do not stop recording after a session, and start at the beginning of the next, the output will be one long continuous file recording of the Stage Day and you will need to edit the recorded file.

Note: If you are sharing your screen the option will appear in the toolbar at the top of your screen.

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. 

As folks are joining the webinar, 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. 

In the Webex Event, in the Participants Panel, click and open “View All”. This will give you a list of all your Attendees. 

Once you’ve opened the Attendees List, search for the Attendee you would like to make a panelist. The search bar makes it easy to find a specific Attendee if you have a large volume of Attendees. 

Once you’ve found the person, click the ellipsis (...) to the right of their name and click the “Make Panelist” button. 

Once you have clicked “Make Panelist” the system will ask you to confirm that this is the correct action to take.

Once you click ‘OK’, you will see this person now under Panelists. They can now unmute/mute themselves, along with turn on/off their camera. 

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

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

Speaker Reminders 

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

The Stage Manager can pass the Presenter role from Panelist to Panelist. As the current Presenter, you can also pass the role to whoever needs it next. 

In the ‘Participants’ panel, select the name of the panelist whom you want to designate as the presenter.

You can transfer the role by either:

In the Participants panel, on the Panelists name, click on the ‘...’ to the right of the participants name and select “Make Presenter”.

Or, Click and drag the red square under the presenters name (as highlighted below) to the name of whoever you wish to make the new Presenter

Unmute Attendee

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

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