For all sessions, chairs are asked to do two key things. Firstly, the chair acts as the Master of Ceremonies for the session, ensuring everyone keeps to the allotted time. Please be very strict about timing so that everyone has an equal opportunity to present their work. Secondly, the Chair is an enabler of interaction and discussion – this is one of the most important aspects of a research conference, so please foster discussion actively. Specific details for different session types is outlined below:
Symposia and Panel Discussions:
Your role is to manage the smooth flow of the symposium or panel discussion. Introduce the presenters and discussant, and check everyone knows the timing. Each presenter has 20 minutes and the discussant has 10 minutes. This will leave 20 minutes for open discussion, which it is your responsibility to facilitate. You will be given three coloured cards with 5 minutes, 2 minutes and STOP written on them so that you can give the presenters a clear indication of the time left.
Your role is to manage the timing of the presentations and check all runs smoothly. Introduce yourself to the presenters and encourage them to upload their presentations before the session begins. Remind them of the timing: with four presenters, each has 20 minutes, including time for questions. There should be ten minutes at the end of the four presentations for general questions and discussion. You will be given three coloured cards with 5 minutes, 2 minutes and STOP written on them so that you can give the presenters a clear indication of the time left.
Your role is very important in making the poster sessions a vibrant opportunity for exchanging research. If presenters have not already done so, encourage them to put up their posters on the boards. There will be 5-6 presenters per session. Each presenter has 5 minutes to present their poster to the audience; when all posters have been presented, there will be time for an in-depth discussion between presenters and the audience. This might be as a whole group but is more likely to be one to one conversations. As Chair, you will need to explain how the session runs as it may be unfamiliar to some delegates and then manage the timing.
Your role as chair of a round table session is as a facilitator. The Round Table offers opportunities for a more discursive exploration of research issues. About five or six presenters will be allocated to each session. Each researcher explains the research and the research issue, and invites the participants to help to discuss emerging data or to solve a research issue or problem.