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I'm chairing a session: what will be expected of me?

posted Jan 17, 2011, 8:41 AM by Jodie Robson   [ updated Jan 20, 2011, 7:48 AM ]

The usual pattern for BACS conferences is to run a number of parallel sessions (usually 3 or 4 at a time) of 90 minutes each. Each session will have three, or very occasionally four (we do our best to avoid this) papers of 20 minutes each, with a question period for all the presenters at the end of the session. We are finding that increasing numbers of people are trying to take in papers from different sessions, so we ask all session chairs to keep to this pattern.

If you don’t know all the people who are presenting in your session, ask at the conference desk beforehand and we will try to make sure you are introduced to them. You should arrive at the room where your session will take place a few minutes before it is due to start, so that you can be sure that presenters are all there and know how to work any audio-visual equipment they need. If you are not confident about AV equipment and would like a chance to familiarize yourself with it in advance, please ask at the conference desk and we’ll be happy to help.

Start the session on time and do try to keep your introductions brief. You should warn presenters 15 minutes into their paper, and again when only 2 minutes are left. The papers should be taken in sequence, in the order they appear in the programme and all questions should be left to the end of the session, when all the papers have been presented. There is usually no shortage of questions, but you may find it helpful to have thought of a question for each person, to start things off, or if you feel someone is being left out. Finally, please try to end the session promptly, however hard it may be to cut short an interesting discussion.

If this is your first time chairing a session and you would like some extra advice, please contact the organizers and we will arrange for someone to discuss it with you. And if you are dying to chair a session but have never been asked, do contact us at any time to let us know you are interested.

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