Conference Chairs

Hello everyone. Today’s post is about chairs and the role they will play in this year’s conference. If you answered “yes” to our registration or submission questions about being willing to be a chair in the conference, we added you to our “potential chair pool” and then assigned you to a panel in your conference track to do our best to match chairs to thematic interests. Chairs have three major responsibilities for their panels: (1) granting screen sharing permissions to the panelists so they can share their visual aids, (2) keeping time for each presentation, and (3) moderating questions during the discussion.

Before the Conference

Sometime in the coming week, we encourage chairs to reach out to the organizer of the panel or all panelists to discuss the panelists’ preferred order of presenting and the timing. All panels are given 75 minutes and most have 4 presenters. We think the optimal allocation of time is for presenters to have 12-15 minutes for each presentation and the remaining 15 or more minutes for discussion and questions.

During the Conference – Chairs and Panel Set-Up

As you will see in the program, we have built in 15-minute breaks between panels and conference events for most panels. For chairs, we ask that they arrive in their Zoom room 5 minutes before the panel is scheduled to start. Someone from the NECoPA Team will be there to start the meeting and transfer host status to you before moving on to set up the next panel.

When panelists and presenters enter the Zoom, chairs should make them co-hosts. Co-hosts have screensharing permissions in Zoom and this is the simplest and most direct way to grant such permissions. To do this, follow either of these options:

Making someone a co-host in Zoom

For more details about co-hosts in Zoom, see this reference page:

During the Conference – Running the Panel

For consistency across panels, chairs will be introducing the panel or the presenters in the order and manner decided before the conference and will keeping time during the panels. Chairs should plan on signaling presenters when they have 5 minutes remaining in their presentation time, 2 minutes remaining, 1 minute remaining, and when time has been exhausted. The cleanest way to do this is to use the chat function and send a message to everyone in the Zoom that simply marks the time (e.g., “5 minutes left”). Chairs should not interrupt speakers abruptly when time expires and allow them to finish their current thoughts and bring their presentation to a smooth conclusion, even if they are over time.

Chairs’ final responsibility will simply be moderating the discussion by calling on questioners in the order of their hand raising or by selecting a question from the chat to read to panelists. Finally, chairs should let panelists and attendees know when the time for the panel has expired.

That’s all of it. Thank you for volunteering to take on this important role. It’s a position that makes the conference run smoothly and we would all be worse off without your help! If you run into any issues, please post a message in the Slack channel #01-help and we will get on it right away.

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