Useful Information for Session Chairs (of Main Session Talks)

1. Before you join your session, double check:

☐ You know the names of all speakers.
☐ If you are chairing an invited speaker session, have a 30-60 second intro to the invited speaker    

     ready. We are happy to work with you on this if you need any assistance.
☐ You have your Zoom panelist invitation email at hand, and use that link to join the session that you are chairing.

     * Please do not share this link with anyone else, it is unique to you.

2. Please join the conference webinar 15 minutes before the session you are chairing.

3. For each talk in your session:

☐ Tell speaker that they may share their screen.

☐ Keep Chat and Q&A windows open throughout. If presenter’s screenshare automatically goes full screen, exit the full screen view in order to have easier access to Chat and Q&A windows. To do this, click the ‘View Options’ button at the top of the window when someone is sharing their screen.

☐ Announce the title of talk, the names of the authors and name of who is presenting. We have also included some recommendations for start-of-session announcements at the end of this document.

☐ Set a timer for 20 minutes, and begin the timer when the presenter begins their talk.
☐ Send speaker private chat messages to give time warnings:

“5 minutes left” 

“2 minutes left”

“Times up, you are now in Q&A”

“STOP –  you are 5 minutes into Q&A” (at which time you as chair should unmute

and stop the speaker aloud)

A presenter may ask you to give these alerts to them aloud. This is fine – just make sure to unmute yourself during the presentation at the right time.

☐ Announce transition to question period when talk finishes.

4. For each question period:

Questions will be submitted from the audience via text into the Q&A window or Chat window. Keep both Q&A and Chat windows open. You will see these questions, but the audience will not. Your job will be to select questions and call on the question-asker to ask the question (a Zoom host/assistant in the background will arrange to unmute the question-asker for you).

E.g., you might say, “I have a question from Jane Smith. Jane, you are about to get a request to unmute, then you can ask your question.”  Note, you may instead read the question aloud yourself if in the text it says something like “please read my Q”, but always identify the person who asked the question. E.g., “Jane Smith had a question. Jane asked…<read the Q>”

☐ Have a question or two ready in case there’s nothing in the Q&A (or Chat) yet, to avoid dead air while people are typing up their questions.

☐ Select a question semi-randomly from open questions in Q&A (or Chat) window; please begin with a question from a student/postdoc, then alternate between student, postdoc, and faculty questions.

☐ Announce the name of question asker so that the host can unmute them.

☐ Question periods are 10 minutes -please be diligent about keeping that time. When you decide that you’ve reached the last question you’ll allow, please indicate this aloud to alert the next presenter to get ready.

5. End of session:

At the end of each session, please give a quick closing and announce what the next event is going to be.

6. On asking questions while participating as a panelist:

As noted above, you cannot submit questions in the Q&A while participating as a panelist (whether it’s during your session or another session – the email address at which you received the panelist invitation to will have the “panelist” role throughout the entire conference).

You’re welcome to ask questions at any time, and you can do so through private chat with the session chair or to the panelist chat during the Q&A(not seen by attendees). Please don’t submit questions to the general panelist chat during the talk, as this will be distracting for the presenters.

7. A note about your panelist role:

For sessions at which you’re not presenting or chairing, you’re welcome to use your panelist login link, which will allow you to be on the screen (and will add a bit of community feel to the webinar). If you’d rather not share your video through the panelist role for other sessions, you can join as a regular attendee by using a different email address from the one to which we sent your panelist link, and clicking on the attendee link for that session that’s posted on the program.

8. Recommended announcements for the start of your session:

Welcome to session [number]. I’m [name], and I will be serving as the session chair. Before we begin, I have a few reminders. If you have a question for a speaker, you can send it any time by pressing the Q&A button and entering your question. If your question is selected during the Q&A period, you will be called upon by name and will be invited to unmute to ask your question. If you prefer that I read your question for you, please indicate that along with your question. OK, let’s get started…

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Program Manager Jessica Marcus: