Chat Help

Live Chat Help

Chat Schedule
Accessing a chat
Pre-Submit Questions
Entering the Chat Room
Participating in a Chat
Exiting the Chat Room
Chat Transcripts

Chat Schedule

  • The Chat Index page lists our scheduled chats
  • All chat schedules are displayed in Eastern Time
  • Chats conclude 60 minutes from the listed start time

Accessing a Chat

You can enter the chat room one hour prior to the scheduled start time of the event although questions may be submitted up to 5 days prior to the event.

  • Click on the Title of the chat from the Chat Index page
  • Click on the "Continue..." link after verifying the topic relates to your concern
  • Complete login using your's SM  community account. If you need an account, complete our free registration
  • Grant permission to run the chat program
    • Enable JavaScript: The chat program requires the use JavaScript to open the chat window. JavaScript must be enabled in your browser settings to access a chat room
    • Disable Pop-up blocking: The applet window may be considered by some browsers or programs to be a "pop-up" window. If the program does not move past this point, turn off any pop-up settings you may have running
    • Java Plug-in: Netscape browsers may require a Java Plug-in download before you are allowed to enter a chat room. Click here to download a Netscape Java plug-in
  • Click on the "Click here to enter the Live chat" button to agree to the participation disclaimer and open the chat window

It may take a moment or two to load the chat program. The chat program works best with Internet Explorer version 4.0 or higher and Netscape version 4.7 or higher.

Pre-Submit Questions

You are permitted to submit a question up to 5 days prior to the start of a chat event. We'll make every attempt to address as many questions as possible during the chat event but can't guarantee all questions will be addressed. Please limit your question to a single concise submission of 1,500 characters or less.

Entering the Chat Room

Upon entering a room you will see:

  • Buttons
    • Connect: Used to reconnect to the chat if you've previously selected the Logout button
    • Logout: Disconnect from the chat room without closing the chat applet/window. Closing the window using the "X" in the upper right corner before selecting the "Logout" button restricts subsequent access to any chat room for up to 30 minutes
    • Clear: Clears the text in the main text box
    • Help: Assistance on how to use the chat window functions
    • Online/Away drop-down - Alert other participants if you've present or have stepped away from your computer
  • Welcome message provides chat information and instructions for submitting messages
  • Display Names of those in the room are listed under the "All Users" column on the right. If the room is moderated you will also see
    • "Quiet Icon" denotes text can be keyed into the text insertion box however the "Send" button will not function until the icon is removed by the host or moderator
    • "Gavel" denotes the room moderator
    • "Microphone" denotes the room host
  • The text insertion box location where messages are composed and submitted
  • The link "Click here to view room dialog prior to your room entry", located at the bottom of the chat window, allows access to the dialog that occurred prior to your entry and includes pre-submitted questions

Participating in a Chat

Most chats held at are informal, allowing participants and the hosts or experts to be located in the same chat area and interact.


  • Be courteous to the host or expert as well as others present
  • Observe directions given by the host, expert or moderator
  • Do not monopolize the conversation; allow others the opportunity to ask questions
  • Be concise
  • Hosts/Guests will provide general feedback to submitted questions and will respond to as many inquiries as possible during the allotted time

Questions are addressed on a "first-come, first-serve" basis the day of the chat. Prepare and submit your question as directed in the welcome message or by the chat host and moderator. Pre-submitted questions may be viewed and then copied and pasted into the chat room through the link "Click here to view room dialog prior to your room entry" located at the bottom of the chat window

  • Copy - Highlight the text of the question, depress the "Ctrl" key while striking the "C" key
  • Paste - Place your cursor in the text insertion box, depress the "Ctrl" key while striking the "V" key

Note: Copying and pasting using the mouse does not work. Copying text from the main dialog screen is not possible

Exiting a Chat

  • Click on the "Logout" Button in the top toolbar
  • Close the chat window

If you wish to re-enter before closing the chat window, click on the "Connect" button again. If you wish to re-enter after closing the chat window, click on the "Click here to enter the Live chat" button.

Closing the chat window using the "X" in the right corner before you select the "Logout" button restricts subsequent access to any chat room for up to 30 minutes.

Chat Transcripts

Transcripts of the chats held at are available for general review in the Live Chat Archives. There is a time delay of approximately 24 hours between the end of a chat and the availability of the transcripts. Transcripts may be edited.

If you need more assistance, email us at using "Chat Help" as the subject.

My Community

Community Membership New Users: