SESSION CHAIR GUIDELINES

Thank you for taking on this important role. Below are a few points to assist you, especially given the tight turnaround between sessions and the large number of presentations.  

Preparation

The conference schedule, along with abstracts and presenters’ biogs, will be available in both English and French in the program booklet which will be in your registration pack on arrival. 

  • Please read the abstracts and biogs of the presenters in your session carefully in advance. 
  • As time is short please do not read out the biography but prepare a very short summary, in one or two sentences, of the most important information including the title of presentation and affiliation (if relevant).
  • Check presenters’ guidelines so you are aware of the requirements of the format of your session – scholarly paper, panel or performative presentation (Linda Caldwell will be chairing all the Pecha Kucha sessions). 

Refer to http://www.wda2014.org/index.php/conference-presentation 

Just prior to the presentation 

  • Arrive at the designated room for your session at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the session and introduce yourself to the presenters.
  • Check that the seating is suitably arranged and that the computer and projector are turned on.
  • Ensure that the presenters have checked their presentations on the USB drive and if time have uploaded onto the desktop computer provided – if using the internet, check that it has been logged in (not to be relied upon).
  • Brief presenters on how you will be running the session as Chair and how you will signal timing 

During the session

It is up to you how you run the session but be very clear about it. You may like to run all the papers first with a brief introduction between each paper and leave half an hour at the end for questions, or you may like to give each presenter 10 minutes for questions immediately after his or her presentation – this also depends on the format of the session. The presenters need to be informed of this before the session.

  • A few minutes before the scheduled starting time ask the audience to take their seats and do not wait for latecomers (unless there is a crowd and then ask them to take their seats as quickly as possible).
  • Start on time in fairness to the presenters.
  • Introduce yourself and how you are going to run the session, introduce the speakers by name only, and then introduce the first speaker as outlined above.
  • Timing is everything! You may need to be very firm if a speaker tries to go over the time limit (one or two minutes is okay but will leave less time for questions and discussion). Find a way to indicate to all speakers (ring a small bell, give a hand signal or hold up a sign) when there is: 
    • 5 minutes remaining
    • 1 minute remaining 
    • finish now 
  • Fielding questions and facilitating discussions
    • Discourage multiple questions in one as it is confusing.
    • Try to have different people ask questions. Only allow anyone to ask more than one question if nobody else wants to ask. 
    • oIf a single person is dominating discussion politely interrupt and ask if anybody else has a view on the issue being discussed.
    • Encourage presenters answer questions as succinctly as possible.
  • Closing the session and after the session 
    • Ensure that you close questions/discussion at the scheduled finishing time.
    • Thank the presenters and audience and ask everyone to vacate the room quickly in preparation for the next session (even if it is the last session, as we will have to clear up for the next day and people need time to get to the theatre to attend the Showcases).
    • Ask that any follow up conversation occur in the foyer area. 
    • Ensure before you leave that nothing has been left behind (USB stick, bags etc) and ask that people take all their rubbish with them.

Any questions please contact me on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. A mobile number will be available once you arrive in Angers. Thank you again.

Cheryl Stock, WDAGS conference chair

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