Conference Committee Members Guidelines
Roles and responsibilities of Conference Committee Members
This document explains the scope and responsibilities of the conference committee. It is a draft containing some of the important activities and should be only used as a document providing general direction and guidance. The details of activities included in this list are subject to change as required.
- Conference Committee Members (CCM) are welcome to suggest appropriate sessions/tracks in tune with the conference topic and theme
- The Chair of the Committee will organize, schedule and delegate assignments to its members
- Take responsibility for the abstract peer review process and ensure adhering to conference schedule by beginning and closing all events at prescheduled times, avoiding delays
- Suggest high-profile speakers and promote the conference to potential authors and delegates
- Collate key ideas of the conference and assist the program chairs in making right decisions
- Identify potential sponsors and advertisement opportunities
- Provide suggestions to increase the scope of the conference
- Clearly define the goals of all committee members and make sure to highlight that everyone has a stake in the overall success of the conference.
Program Committee Members Responsibilities
- Be familiar with your charge, conference theme and familiarize with other members of committee
- Take responsibility for distinct parts of abstract review and conference sessions
- Provide support to ensure that preparation and distribution of conference materials is done well in advance
- Organize specific conference sessions
- Serve as Session Chair as advised by Conference Chairs
- Guide the committee in proposing new activities and services that will further the organization’s goals and mission
- Provide administrative assistance to the Chair and facilitate communication between the Committee, Management and Attendees
Benefits for CCM & Program Committee Members
There are many benefits for the members of the conference committee and program committee.
- Being publicly recognized for your important role in the success of conference
- Being awarded with mementos and felicitated with certificate at the conference
- Having an opportunity to suggest sessions and tracks that align well with the event
- Propose new members to the committee
- Avail huge registration discounts for your organization members and groups suggested by you
- Opportunity to select best poster/speaker nominees for awards
- Members can give free advertisement in the conference book and can include inserts (provided by you) in conference giveaway bags
- Free logo of the institution/association that you represent will be depicted on conference banners, books and website
- Name, designation and photographs of members will be displayed in conference website
Members of the committee will be rotated off after two or three successive occasions if they are essentially inactive and reflect negligible involvement. This is primarily to support the interests of the organization to increase its efficiency and also to make space for new members to join the committee.
Guidelines for Chairing a Session
The following guidelines are for chairing sessions at Continuum Forums. These guidelines are provided to ensure that the conferences run smoothly. An attentive, well-prepared Session Chair and Co-chair help in ensuring high quality performance and trouble-free talks by speakers that would lead to appreciation of sessions by the audience.
In case a speaker has cancelled his presentation at the last minute, session chairs will have the liberty to present their own talk that aligns well with the subject, theme and sessions of the conference to maintain the continuity of the scheduled conference program. This could be an oral presentation which you have delivered previously but is still in tune with current research or you may even provide a video presentation or a short video clip depicting your company or institution’s role in the subject. The main reason behind this is to continue the intended schedule without causing any deviation to the proceedings.
Generally, when a speaker drops out of the program after it is scheduled and promoted, other attendees keen on listening to this particular speaker’s speech will feel rather disappointed. This causes a disruption in smooth running of the conference as the skipped over talk will have a cascading effect on presentations by other speakers. Having a talk planned ahead to be readily presented in such a scenario will help in smooth running of the conference and will gain you recognition for your efforts and expertise.
Remember that you are responsible for the process as a whole even if you allow the speakers to handle the questions on their own. Always be ready to intervene if anything goes wrong before, during and after the presentation. You will be also responsible for managing time and to ensure that all the presentations start and end as planned. To this end, you need to ensure that each speaker stays within the agreed-upon time limit. Chairing sessions at an academic conference is a thankless task and we appreciate you for agreeing to assume this high responsibility.
Prior to the session
Meet with the support staff from the Local Arrangement Committee prior to your session to review that all the lights and audio visual equipment is working fine and are in good position inside the sessions room for the speakers to present their work without any technical glitches. Also make sure that a laser pointer is readily available for the speakers to present and emphasize their work.
It is the chair’s responsibility to review the presenters' abstracts and have a quick glance at their biographies and be ready with at least two to three questions in case the audience discussion needs a catalyst. Ensure that you meet with all the speakers in your session at least 15 minutes prior to the beginning of the session. Take advantage of this time to make the much needed introductions and make all the members feel comfortable in addition to giving a quick round up of instructions. Introduce yourself to the presenters and obtain further information on their academic backgrounds and themes of their presentations. Further, ask how they would like themselves to be introduced, and confirm the pronunciation of names to ensure you don’t call out different names.
Remind the speakers again of their time limitations and ask them to check if all their devices like laptops and iPads and other gadgets are working fine. Ensure that the viewgraphs and microphone are also working as expected and see if the speakers need any assistance to ensure a reasonable comfort level.
Inform your speakers about how you will notify them when they are nearing the end of their allotted time for the presentation. Make sure that there is enough time for any relevant questions and answers. If, however, all time has expired for that speaker, it is acceptable to ask the audience to discuss issues with that speaker after the end of the session. It is the Session Chair’s responsibility to ensure that all speakers receive their allotted time and that the audience has opportunity for their questions and comments.
Conference Committee wants to promote audience feedback whenever the speakers are presenting products, directions or methodologies. It is, therefore, important to have these speakers honor at least a minimum of 5 to 10 minutes for Q&A session, comments or panel discussion.
Make a note of the actual start time of speakers as it will be difficult to know when to stop them if you do not know when they have started. Inform speakers about the exact starting and finishing time for their presentations and also remind them that the attendees are free to get up and move to another session after each talk. Allocate at least two or three minutes for this anticipated movement of people from one session to other. You can help facilitate a smooth change between speakers by asking the next speaker to begin moving toward the front and even switching laptops while the Q&A session unfolds.
When Your Session Begins
Make yourself acquainted with the environment and ensure that the lighting and audio visual systems are working well. If there are any problems, seek immediate assistance from a staff member of the Local Arrangements Committee. Ask the members if the presenters are clearly visible and if they can hear them clearly.
Inform the audience that the session is about to begin and, if needed, encourage the audience to settle into their seats and conclude their conversations. The audience will appreciate that fact that you are in charge and concerned about the quality of the sessions and the outcome of the conference.
Ask attendees to complete a Technical Presentation Evaluation Form for each talk during your session.
Introduce the speaker, give their affiliation and the title of their talk for each presentation. Explain how the talk of a particular speaker fits into the scheme of the session or conference.
During Each Presentation
As the chair of the session, it is your responsibility to assist your speakers if there are any problems during their presentation. If the presentation is not being displayed well due to technical glitches seek assistance from the staff of Local Arrangements Committee to adjust the equipment. If speakers cannot be heard or seen from the other end of the sessions’ room, you should politely try to correct the situation.
- You must keep track of elapsed time during a presentation:
- At 20 minutes of a 25-minute talk, indicate the speaker that they are nearing the end of their sessions through a gesture or by raising a card. Adjust as necessary for longer presentations.
- Q&A sessions: If time permits, the Session Chair should invite questions if the speaker does not do this.
- An excellent Session Chair will have at least one general question ready for each speaker in order to help get the discussion off the ground, should the audience be reticent.
- When questions are asked, make every effort to get a microphone to the questioner (more important for the large general sessions than for the parallel sessions). If this is not possible, remind the speaker to repeat the questions, or repeat the question yourself if you are in a better position to hear the question. Use your own judgment regarding the need for this depending on room acoustics.
- As the allotted time for the speaker’s talk ends, initiate applause for the speaker.
At the End of the Session
When the last speaker’s presentation and the Q&A sessions have concluded, thank the audience for attending and for their support in running the session smoothly and state that the session is now completed. Remind attendees to go to the online evaluation system shortly before leaving the conference and complete their evaluations. The link is listed in the program and the pocket schedule. Your duties as Session Chair are thus completed.
Oral Presentation Guidelines
Your cooperation is appreciated in keeping the meeting on schedule for the benefit of all attendees, so please note the following guidelines:
Types of Oral Presentations
Presentation Type Total Allotted Time
Plenary Talk 40 min Followed by Q&A Session
Keynote Talk 30 min Followed by Q&A Session
Invited Talk 25 min Followed by Q&A Session
Featured Talk 20 min Followed by Q&A Session
*Note: Please be informed that the organizers reserve the right to adjust the duration of the presentations/talks to accommodate the overall conference agenda.
The official language of all the presentations including oral, poster, speaker or video presentations is English and all the relevant submissions should be made in English.
Preparation Before the Presentation
Speakers should bring their USB device to the Speaker check-in area at least 2 hours before the commencement of their talk as the technical team will pre-load the presentation to the networked system
Speakers can also use their own devices and/or gadgets for their presentations
Kindly ensure that the laptop you are using for presentation is loaded with Windows 7/10; MSOffice 2007/10 Pro English (Word, PowerPoint, and Excel) and Adobe Reader.
Microphones, laser pointers and LCD projectors are provided at the conference
Speakers who have not submitted the details of their presentation to the organizing staff or session chair should be ready with their devices in the session room at least 15 minutes before the start of the session.
Recording and Photo Policy
For promotional purposes, there may be a photographer and video recording for dissemination on the website and other mediums. Presenters who do not wish to be filmed should inform the session chair prior to the beginning of their session or to the organizers present at the registration desk.
Posters are a key component of communicating your research and an important element in a successful scientific career. Participants may consider presenting posters to showcase their work to a larger audience base and to have more time. Here are the guidelines for presenting posters:
Posters should be no larger than A0 (84 cm wide by 119 cm long) in portrait/landscape format.
Check-in at the poster desk THE DAY of your presentation. The presenter must be an author of the poster and a registered attendee.
A reasonable supply of pushpins will be provided but we suggest the presenters to bring their own if possible.
Ensure that the poster has large text which is clearly visible from a distance of 4 to 5 feet or even more. All the content of the poster including any graphs, pictures and data should be presented in a logical and sequential manner to be clear to the visitors.
Best Poster Awards
At the end of the conference sessions, prizes will be awarded for 3 best posters by students and the following criteria apply:
• The work depicted in the poster must be predominately that of the student
• The poster must be prepared and presented by the student
• The student must register for the conference (as student registration)
• The prize consists of a certificate and US$200, and will be paid after the conference by cheque or bank transfer.
Workshop presentations are interactive skills-based discussions that last 90-120 minutes. Workshops must be interactive, and include practical information that participants can bring back to their communities.
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