SCS Europe Conferene
Instructions for Session Chairpersons
- Please read the papers of the session(s) you chair in
advance, and prepare for the session.
- Try to contact the authors who will present the papers in
advance, and see if there are no-shows or last-minute
changes to the program. At least see at the registration
desk who is present to present the paper, so you know for
whom to look at the start of the session. The
registration desk can also inform you about possible
- If you can contact the authors and talk with them before
the session, please do! Usually, the session improves
when you know a little more of the authors and their
- Collect the biographical information sheets at the
registration desk, in order to introduce the speakers.
- Prepare at least one technical question and one
discussion question for each paper. Sometimes it is
necessary for the chair to ask the first question, after
which discussion starts. If you have interesting
discussion themes, prepare them, and if possible put them
on a transparancy.
At the start of the session
- Be at the right room at least 10 minutes before the
- If there is a description of the session contents on the
door, see whether it is correct, and make appropriate
changes if necessary.
- Check if the audiovisuals (overhead projector; sometimes
slide projector or microphone) work correctly, whether
the room is dark enough to see the slides or
- If one of the authors uses computer equipment (the
registration desk knows), make sure the author has tested
and installed everything well in advance
of the start of the session. Usually, Murphy's Law
applies to the use of computer equipment in a
- Contact the authors at the start of the session. They
will usually be the first to arrive.
- State clearly to the authors how much time they have and
that you will be very strict on meeting the schedule.
- Wait till the inflow of people into the room stops, close
the door, and introduce yourself and the topic of the
session. If there are only a few people, announce that
this is an opportunity to really discuss the topic of the
session, and act accordingly. Don't wait too long with
the start of the session, time is limited!
For each paper
- Briefly introduce the authors, the presenter, and state
the topic of the paper.
- Remind the author (not always) of the time they have for
- Five minutes before the allotted time has elapsed, hold
up your hand with five fingers, indicating to the
presenter that he/she has five minutes left.
- Try to really stimulate discussion after the
presentation. If necessary, start with your own, prepared
- After each presentation, thank the author for presenting
- At the end of the entire session, thank the authors and
- ... there is a no-show. Two possibilities. Solution 1:
shift the other presentations, so there is no gap. If you
are sure the author will not come, you can give some more
time to the other authors. If you are not sure (the
author just isn't at the session), wait till the end, and
use the time left for general discussion about the topic
with the entire audience. Solution 2: discuss the paper
with the audience if you feel familiar with the contents
(YOU as a session chair read the paper (!) and you know
the strenghthes and weaknesses of the paper).
- ... authors carry on with their presentation and threaten
to run out of time. Warn them in advance, during their
presentation, and interfere when other presentations will
suffer. If it was far too long: no questions until the
end of the session.
- ... the presentation is very bad. You can ask some
questions during the presentation to at least clarify
what the talk is about. Raise your hand indicating the
last five minutes a little early.
- ... you have some time left at the end of session. Use it
for discussion if the audience is interested in the
- ... several of the authors do not show up. Sometimes it
is possible to organize a nice discussion with the
audience about the different papers. You prepared the
session anyhow (and sometimes also refereed one or more
of the papers), so you are familiar with the contents.
- ... you are both the session chair and a presenter in the
session. In that case make very sure your own
presentation stays well within the allotted time.
- ... there is only a very small audience. No problem.
Usually, the best discussions take place in a small,
targeted audience. Make sure you act as a discussion
leader, and involve the entire audience in the
- ... the session threatens to run out of time, but it is
extremely interesting. Look in the program what is
planned next. If it is another session, be very strict on
the times. If there is a coffee/lunch break: inform or
ask the audience, and if they agree, continue the
Usual presentation times
- Extended paper (8 pages in the proceedings): For some
conferences, these high quality papers are scheduled in
separate sessions and have a little longer presentation
time than the regular papers, i.e. 40 minutes total, 30
presentation, 10 discussion. In other cases: 25-30
minutes total: 20 presentation, 5-10 discussion.
- Normal paper (5 or 6 pages in the proceedings): Usually
the time-slot allows for regular papers 25-30 minutes
total: 20 presentation, 5-10 discussion.
- Short paper (in volume 2 of the proceedings): 15-20
minutes total, 10-15 presentation, 5 discussion.
- Make the presentation time dependent on the total session
- For the authors, it is most convenient if the questions
about their paper are right after their presentation.
General discussion can wait till the end of the session.
Page created by SCS Europe Office and Alexander Verbraeck. Last update 03-02-03.
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