Session Chair Guidelines and Information

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Thank you for your willingness to chair a session at the upcoming SICB Meeting in Chicago in January. Your functions as a Session Chair are:

  • Bring or borrow a reliable wristwatch. Synchronize your watch with a reliable time signal (e.g., on television or radio) the evening before your session.

  • Stop by the Ready Room about 20 minutes before your session begins to learn of any last minute cancellations, changes in the schedule or announcements that should be made to the audience at your session.

  • Before the first speaker is scheduled to begin, introduce the session, introduce yourself and any co-chairs or assistants, make any announcements, and state the session rules. These are generally: (1) Every talk is allotted a total of 20 minutes, typically 15 minutes of presentation and 5 minutes for questions. (2) Every talk needs to end on time. (3) If a speaker speaks for more than 15 minutes, question time will be reduced correspondingly. (4) The chair will signal the speaker when 6 minutes are left (= 1 minute of speaking time) and 1 minute is left of the 20 minute slot. (5) If time is needed for a speaker to deal with audiovisual difficulties, this comes out of the speaker’s time and not the next speaker’s time. Begin these announcements so that they are finished before the first speaker is scheduled to begin.

  • Introduce the papers and maintain the schedule times listed in the Program.

  • Each paper has been given a time designation and is allotted a maximum of 20 minutes including questions. It is ESSENTIAL to adhere to the schedule so that everyone has an equal opportunity to speak. There will be a speaker timer on each podium, visible to the speaker, to help with this responsibility. Please make sure that the timer is set (either by you, the union person or the student A/V assistant) before each talk begins.

  • Adhering to the time schedule is one of the major functions of the chairperson . If a speaker fails to come to the session, or if a paper has been withdrawn, cancelled or is a ‘no show, ’ DO NOT ADVANCE THE SEQUENCE OF PAPERS. Please stay on schedule by filling their time with discussion/questions or take a short break. If a speaker does not stop at the end of the 20-minute slot, whether in answering a question or in completing the presentation, you must interrupt the speaker and introduce the next speaker and/or begin the scheduled break. If you do not do this, you will disrupt the schedules for every subsequent speaker that day as well as those of audience members moving from session to session.

  • Make sure that persons having questions use the aisle microphones so that everyone can hear.

  • There are 20 minute coffee breaks at 10 am and 3 pm each day. If your session precedes the breaks, please remind attendees that the coffee break will take place in the exhibit/poster area (Thursday-Saturday). On Sunday, the coffee breaks will be in the meeting room area.
  • Audio Visual emergency procedures: 1. If a union person is in the room, they will be able to assist in fixing the problem. 2. There will be a student assigned to each room, so if there is no union person in your room and any of the equipment fails to operate reliably, ask the student to get help immediately. There is a training session on Wednesday for the student room monitors and they will know to use the phone in the room (there is one in every session room) and to call the SICB registration desk which has direct radio access to the a/v provider. If unable to reach the registration desk, the student will ask the operator to link them with the a/v company directly. If for some reason the student is not in the room at the time of the emergency and there is no union person assigned to your room, follow the #2 procedure yourself. We will post the SICB registration desk number in the Ready Room.