Session Chair Information


Thank you again for chairing a session this year! Below are some helpful tips and information for your role as a chair. Please take a few minutes to read this message in its entirety, as well as file this email where you can find and review it before your assigned session. 

Speakers will be advised to upload their presentations beforehand, but if they haven’t they need to copy their presentations on the presentation laptop/desktop computer in the assigned session room prior to the start of the session. Only in special circumstances (such as software presentations) should speakers request to use their own laptops. If permission is granted, the speaker will need to test the laptop in the session room at the break prior to their presentation. Presenters must supply their own connection cords.

Your tasks as session chair:

  • Be in the room at least 20 minutes before the session begins. A volunteer will be assigned to each session room and will be familiar with the in-room technology to assist during each session. 
  • Bring your program schedule-at-a-glance (also available online or in the mobile app) so you have the speakers’ names and titles of their talks readily available.
  • Bring a watch, phone, or another device for keeping time.
  • Prepare a list of the planned end times for each talk. Pay attention to each timeframe as certain sessions can be 60, 75, or 90 minutes long. For example, in a typical 75-minute concurrent session, each speaker has 15 minutes total, of which 12 minutes are intended for the talk and 3 minutes are intended for questions and transitioning to the next speaker.

The policy for IMPS 2023, as it has been in the past, is that all chairs adhere to the time slots listed in the program.  This means:

If there are fewer presentations in your session than are listed in the program (as indicated in the program or due to unexpected no-shows), do not extend the length of the other talks and do not allow the presenters to begin earlier than their designated time. Symposia are more flexible and this is left to the discretion of the organizers who are also serving as chairs.

In case of no-shows, leave a break for the absent speaker, inform your audience about the absence, and have the remaining talks start at the time(s) listed in the program. This policy ensures that attendees can rely on the times listed in the schedule, and can move between sessions without fear of missing a talk. (You may also consider allowing more time for questions and answers during that open timeframe.)

Tips for IMPS Session Chairs

  • Welcome the presenters when they come into the room.
  • Assist the speakers in copying their files to the laptop and show them how to use the equipment. (Plan to familiarize yourself with the equipment before the speakers arrive.)
  • Ask the presenters how to pronounce their names.
  • Let the presenters know how you will help them keep their talk on  schedule. (See  the bulleted information  below “signal to the presenter.”)
  • When the session starts, briefly announce the plan for the session . For example, you might say, “Welcome to the session on X. We will allow 12 minutes per talk and 2-3 minutes for questions”.
  • If you have no-shows among the presenters, tell the audience that you were asked to adhere to the schedule, and/or extend the question-and-answer timeframe. For example, you might say, “The second presenter is not here. Following meeting policy, we will leave a break during this slot and resume with the remaining talks as indicated in the schedule, to allow people to move between sessions”.
  • Briefly announce each presenter.
  • Signal to the presenter when they are getting close to the end of their allotted time. Cards to signal 5 minutes and 1 minute remaining for the talk itself will be placed in each room. Hold the cards up until the speaker signals that he/she has seen them (e.g., by nodding). In case a speaker does not come to an end after their allotted “X” minutes, stand up to politely signal the end of the talk.
  • If there is time for questions:
    • Invite the audience to ask questions.
    • If there is silence, consider asking a question yourself.  Write down potential questions during each talk in case you need them.
    • Let the audience know when there is only time for one (more) question.

Thank you again for volunteering to chair a session this year. We hope you enjoy the meeting!

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