Meet with the support staff from the Local Arrangement Committee prior to your session to Review the workings of the lights, the AV equipment, and good positions for your speakers in your session’s room. It is a good idea to make sure a laser pointer is available.
Meet with all your speakers 15 minutes before the start of your session. At that time, make needed introductions and help them feel comfortable with the room arrangements and fellow participants. Discuss their positions at the podium and remind them of their time limitations. Have all your speakers tried out their laptops, viewgraphs, and the microphone to determine any required assistance and to ensure a reasonable comfort level.
Describe to your speakers the method you will use to notify them when they are nearing their presentation time limit and how you will interrupt them if they have reached the end of their allotted time. Try to leave time for pertinent questions and answers (especially if the talk is particularly inspiring or controversial). If however, all time has expired for that speaker, it is acceptable to ask the audience to discuss issues with that speaker after the end of the session. It is up to you as the Session Chair to ensure that ALL speakers receive their allotted time and that the audience has opportunity for their questions and comments.
Organizing Committee wants to promote audience feedback whenever the speakers are presenting products, directions or methodologies. It is, therefore, important to have these speakers honor at least a minimum of 5/10-minute question/answer/comment/panel discussion period.
Inform your speakers of the exact time that each of their talks are to begin and remind them that attendees are free to get up and move to another session after each talk. Two or three minutes should be allocated for this anticipated movement of people from session to session. Further explain that because of this expected movement, it is particularly important for each talk to finish on time AND for the next speaker to begin at the appropriate time (even if the previous speaker ends early). You can help facilitate a smooth change between speakers by asking the next speaker to begin moving toward the front and even switching laptops while the questions and answer session unfolds.