Familiarize yourself with the session: Before the conference, review the schedule and familiarize yourself with the session you will be chairing. Understand the topic, the presenters, and the order of presentations. This will help you facilitate a smooth and organized session.
Introduce yourself and set the tone: At the beginning of the session, introduce yourself to the audience and briefly explain your role as the session chair. Set a positive and welcoming tone by expressing your enthusiasm for the topic and the presenters.
Review the session format: Remind the audience about the format and rules of the session. Let them know about the time allocated for each presenter, the Q&A session, and any other relevant guidelines. This will ensure that everyone is aware of the expectations and helps maintain a structured session.
Keep track of time: One of your primary responsibilities as a session chair is to manage time. Introduce each presenter, mentioning their name and affiliation, and provide a brief overview of their presentation. Ensure that each presenter adheres to their allotted time, and politely remind them if they exceed it. Keeping the session on schedule will benefit both the presenters and the audience.
Facilitate smooth transitions: Between presentations, facilitate smooth transitions to maintain the flow of the session. Summarize the key points of the previous presentation and briefly connect them to the upcoming presentation. This will help the audience understand the context and follow the progression of ideas.
Encourage audience participation: Encourage the audience to actively participate in the session. After each presentation, open the floor for questions and comments. If the audience is hesitant to ask questions, have a few prepared questions to kickstart the discussion. Create a welcoming and inclusive environment that fosters engagement and knowledge sharing.
Moderate Q&A sessions: During the Q&A sessions, ensure that the questions are relevant and concise. If a question is too long or veers off-topic, politely paraphrase or summarize it for the presenter. Moderate the discussion to allow as many participants as possible to contribute and ensure a respectful and constructive environment.
Manage disruptions: Occasionally, unforeseen disruptions may occur during a session. It could be technical difficulties, late arrivals, or other unexpected issues. Stay calm and address the situation promptly. If necessary, seek assistance from the conference staff to resolve any technical or logistical problems.
Show appreciation: Express your gratitude to each presenter for their contribution. Acknowledge their efforts and highlight key aspects of their presentations. It's important to create a positive and supportive atmosphere that encourages presenters to share their work.
Conclude the session: As the session comes to a close, summarize the key takeaways from the presentations. Thank the presenters, the audience, and any other individuals who assisted in organizing the session. Encourage further discussions and networking among the participants.
Remember, as a session chair, your role is to facilitate a productive and engaging session. By being well-prepared, organized, and attentive, you can ensure a successful conference experience for both the presenters and the audience.