Session Chair Information

Session Chair Responsibilities 

In-Person Session Chairs:

Before the Conference

  • Reach out to the speakers in your session directly to confirm their participation. When reaching out confirm if the presenter will be in person or virtual. 
  • Remind speakers that they have 11 min (if they have a 15 min slot) to present

    • This leaves 3 minutes for Q&A and 1 minute for the speaker to travel to/from the podium and transition between in-person and virtual. 

  •  Make sure speakers know about instructions for uploading their presentations

During the Conference

  • Make sure your student volunteer is present.
    • Your session room should have a student volunteer to run the computer system and help you with timing the presentations. Please check before the session begins to ensure a student volunteer is present: if not you should contact the AMS staff at registration.
  • Make sure all of your speakers are present and their presentation files are uploaded.

  • Speakers should have loaded their talks onto the conference computers using the Confex Podium Software well before the session (either online or at the meeting itself before/after sessions and during breaks).  The student volunteer will help you check on this. AMS staff will post a program addendum, containing a list of withdrawn talks, at the podium each day. 
  • Introduce each speaker.

    • Please take time to familiarize yourself with the presenters in your session. 
  • Keep the session running on time.

    • AMS requires that you stay close to the published schedule, especially for virtual attendees. Hence, if a speaker doesn’t show up, the general rule is to not just move ahead with the next speaker, thus throwing off the timing for the rest of the session.  You can use some judgment here to decide what to do:
      • Do a 15-minute Q&A and/or discussion period. Perhaps you can lead the discussion by bringing forward your own relevant thoughts about the research presented.

    • Take a 15-minute break.

    • End the session early if the no-show falls at the end of a session (before a coffee/lunch break or end of the day).

  • Moderate the question and answer period. Work with the virtual chair to make sure questions that came in via the chat are also asked. 

  • You should choose the questioners rather than letting the speaker take charge of this interchange.  That way, you can cut it off easier when time is running out. If a speaker runs long, you are under no obligation to hold a question and answer period.  Simply say, “We need to move on to the next speaker,” or “You can corner Dr. Smith during the coffee break and ask your questions then.”  You should also plan to prepare one question per talk in your session.

Virtual Session Chairs:

Before the Conference

  • Reach out to the speakers in your session directly to confirm their participation. When reaching out confirm if the presenter will be in person or virtual. 
  • Remind speakers that they have 11 min (if they have a 15 min slot) to present

    • This leaves 3 minutes for Q&A and 1 minute for the speaker to travel to/from the podium and transition between in-person and virtual. 

  •  Make sure speakers know about instructions for uploading their presentations

During the Conference

  • Make sure all of your virtual speakers are present and their presentation files are uploaded.
  • Virtual Speakers will be sharing their screens to show their presentation. 
  • Introduce each speaker.

    • Please take time to familiarize yourself with the presenters in your session. 
  • Work with the in-person chair to keep the session running on time. 

    • AMS requires that you stay close to the published schedule in case folks want to switch between session rooms. Hence, if a speaker doesn’t show up, the general rule is to not just move ahead with the next speaker, thus throwing off the timing for the rest of the session.  You can use some judgment here to decide what to do:
      • Do a 15-minute Q&A and/or discussion period. Perhaps you can lead the discussion by bringing forward your own relevant thoughts about the research presented.

    • Take a 15-minute break.

    • End the session early if the no-show falls at the end of a session (before a coffee/lunch break or end of the day).

  • Moderate the question and answer period. Work with the in-person chair to make sure questions that came in via the chat are also asked. 

  • You should choose the questioners rather than letting the speaker take charge of this interchange.  That way, you can cut it off easier when time is running out. If a speaker runs long, you are under no obligation to hold a question and answer period.  Simply say, “We need to move on to the next speaker,” or “You can corner Dr. Smith during the coffee break and ask your questions then.”  You should also plan to prepare one question per talk in your session.