2019 chairs guidance notes


Parallel sessions

SAPC ASM 2019, 3-5 July, University of Exeter

Thank you for agreeing to chair a session!

Summary of tasks

  • Introduce the session and individual speakers
  • Track and keep to time
  • Help prompt questions / chair the Q&A
  • Give housekeeping notices – these will be provided in the room

A student helper will be in the room to support you if needed.

SAPC conference parallel sessions will be in The Forum, University of Exeter, Streatham campus

We would be grateful if you could arrive in the room where your session will be held 10-15 minutes before the start of the session to meet the speakers and member of conference staff who will be on duty in the room.

Checking speakers have arrived

For peace of mind you may ask the student helper in your room to check that all the speakers in your session have checked in and reviewed their presentations in  the speaker preview area: Seminar room 4, ground floor, The Forum

As delegates arrive please ask anyone who is likely to want to move to another room during the session (between presentations) to sit near the exit if possible.

Keeping to time

Good timekeeping is vital. It is your responsibility as chair to ensure that the programme runs smoothly, to time, so that  delegates hear their chosen presentations and enjoy the programme to its full.  Poor time keeping has been a source of frustration to delegates in previous SAPC meetings. A staff helper in a conference T-shirt will be able to help with timing should you need assistance.

  • Presentation slots are 15 minutes (10 minutes plus 3-5 minutes of discussion). Some sessions include 2, 3 or 4 pitches, which together fill a single 15 minute slot. Please allow each speaker 3 minutes only.  We suggest that the three poster pitches are presented without interruption or discussion. If there are a few minutes left of the 15 minutes slot at the end, please invite discussion / Q+A as you see fit, and ensure you start the next oral presentation at the scheduled time.
  • Coloured cards will be supplied in the rooms to help with timing. Please use the cards as follows
    • For oral presentations, show a yellow card 9 minutes into the talk (ie one minute to go) and a red card at 10 minutes (when the speaker should stop). 
    • For poster pitches, please show the yellow card 2 minutes into the talk and a red card at 3 minutes.
  • Please invite anyone who wishes to move to another parallel session to do so at 13 minutes into each 15 minute slot; a conference helper will open the door

Speakers are well aware of the time available for their talks. Please interrupt speakers if necessary to ensure the programme runs to time. 

If a presenter is missing or unable to present

Please keep the discussion going or take a break to fill the empty time slot so that the remaining papers remain on time. 

Staff helper

There will be a member of staff on hand to assist you with timing and other housekeeping issues. any other aspect of the chairing.


In order to keep to time we recommend that after 3 minutes’ discussion (ie 13 minutes into the time slot) those who wish to switch rooms are prompted by the chair  (the staff helper can open the doors).  Programme changes and notices

The registration desk, speaker preview staff and other conference staff will liaise with you regarding any last-minute programme changes.  A note about any programme changes will be provided in your session room and will be posted on the programme notice board in The Forum foyer.  

Presentation/Speaker preview

Speaker preview will be located in the Frobisher Lounge (by Auditorium 1), level 4.   The technicians will ensure that the speaker presentations are set up in advance of each session.  In the parallel sessions conference staff will be on hand to assist speakers with their presentations. 

What to do if PowerPoint goes wrong

Please liaise with the staff helper (in conference T-shirt) who will immediately contact one of the technicians.  If the problem cannot be solved immediately, please ask the speaker to resume their talk without the use of PowerPoint.


Please arrive in plenty of time to meet the speakers.  Speakers will be asked to arrive in the session room at least 10 minutes before the start of the session to familiarise themselves with the audio-visual equipment.  Please introduce each speaker at the start of their presentation, giving their name and presentation title.


Journalists may be present at the conference.  Please ask the speakers to say at the beginning of their talks if they do not wish their work to be reported.


There are no discussion microphones in the parallel session rooms.

Thank you for chairing!