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.

Your tasks as session chair:

  • Be in the room at least 15 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. 
  • Refer to the program/schedule-at-a-glance which will be available online via the conference homepage or in the mobile app so you have the speakers’ names and titles of their talks readily available. The schedule is forthcoming and will be available closer to the conference.
  • 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 45, 60, or 75 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 2024, 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. 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, do not leave a break for the absent speaker, inform your audience about the absence, and have the remaining talks start immediately after the preceding 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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