Role of a Chair: Chairs are responsible for the overall planning and execution of sessions to facilitate the sessions’ success. Chairs are expected to orient the audience to the session. Chairs need to be attentive to time allocations, but the role involves much more than keeping time. A session’s success may depend on the chair’s ability to limit the time of presentations and temper discussion from the floor to allow sufficient time for interaction.
Responsibilities of a Session Chair: Chairs are responsible for the overall planning and execution of their session and to facilitate the sessions’ success. Before the session, chairs are expected to contact any discussants to begin a conversation about shaping the session. At the session, chairs should (1) commence at the scheduled time and orient the audience to the context with brief introductory remarks, (2) introduce participants before their presentations, (3) limit time for each presenter and discussant, (4) raise issues that can facilitate audience engagement, and moderate panel or floor discussions, and (5) adjourn the session in time to allow the room to clear before the next session.
Some other tasks for chairs include:
- Ensure that everyone’s PowerPoint presentations are loaded onto the laptop in the room (individuals will do this on their own, but the chair should make sure this happens before the session starts).
- Establish the line-up of presenters (generally based on the order they appear in the program).
- The time allotted to each presenter should be equally distributed.
- Presentations must be carefully timed and no presenter should be allowed to exceed it.
- Allow for 5-10 minutes after each presentation for questions, or allocate equivalent time after all presentations.