Advice to Chairs

Sessions will run in the order in the program, divided into half-hour slots for each presenter. Each presenter has 20 minutes to present followed by 10 minutes of discussion facilitated by the chair. 

Conference sessions will run using Zoom video conferencing. Before the conference, please download and install the latest version of Zoom. Sessions will run in self-select breakout rooms. You will need Zoom Client 5.3.0 or later to access self-select breakout rooms. 

If you have not used zoom before, you can learn by visiting Zoom’s Support Pages. We can also provide practise sessions in the week before the conference, if you’d like to try out your set up. Please contact to arrange a time. 

Chairing your session 

  • Read the abstracts and biographies of presenters in your session. 
  • Check how to pronounce the presenters’ names; ask if you’re unsure. 
  • Note the order on the program in which presenters will speak.  
  • Use a watch or timer to ensure presentations at the scheduled time.  
  • Don’t re-arrange the order of presenters.  
  • If presenters have connection issues, wait for them to reconnect.  

Begin your session 

  • Log in 5-10 minutes early and begin the session on time. 
  • Welcome presenters and audience in attendance. 
  • Introduce yourself as the chair. 
  • Explain that presenters will speak in the order on the program, and that each presenter has 20 minutes to present, followed by up to 10 minutes questions. 
  • Ask the audience mute their audio, until discussion time. The zoom host will make you a co-host allowing you to mute attendees, if audio causes a distraction. 

During the session 

  • Introduce the first presenter by name, biography and presentation title. 
  • Introduce second presenter 30 minutes into the session, third presenter 60 minutes into the session and the fourth presenter (if applicable) 90 minutes into the session.  
  • If a presenter is not present at the start of the session, invite the audience to take a break. Explain that the session will continue when the late presenter arrives, or it is time for the next presenter to present. 
  • Example: Our next presenter is not yet with us. Let’s wait to give them a chance to connect. If they don’t join us in within their time-slot, let’s take a break and resume the session in [30 minutes – or time-remaining] – when it is time for the next presenter to speak. 


  • Keep the time limit to 20 minutes for each presenter to speak – followed by up to 10 minutes of discussion. 
  • Inform the presenter when they have 5 minutes left, and again when there have just 1 minute left. 
  • Ask the presenter to stop presenting, when they have run out of time, and open the session to discussion. 
  • If a presenter joins the session late, allow them to present in the time remaining in their slot, but explain that the next presenter will begin on time, and therefore their question time will be limited/removed. 

Discussion after each presentation 

  • Prepare a question to ask each presenter, in case there are no immediate questions from the audience. 
  • Ask listeners to use the hand signal to ask a question by audio/video. 
  • Alternatively, offer to read out questions that are asked in the chat. 
  • Facilitate the discussion between audience and presenter – invite audience to clarify questions. 
  • Ensure that discussion does not go over time.

At the end of the session 

  • Thank the presenters and audience. 
  • The break-out room will stay open for 20 minutes during the break. 
  • Presenters and audience are welcome to grab a tea/coffee/drink/snack and stay for conversation, contact-swapping and chat. 

Screen-sharing and recording 
Presenters are responsible for screen-sharing their own slides. If screen-sharing fails, encourage the presenter to proceed without slides. 

We are not planning to record conference sessions or provide asynchronous access to recordings. If presenters wish to record their own presentation, they may do that on their own device. Ask the presenters to inform the audience if they plan to record. 

When things go wrong 
We’re meeting online – so we’re expecting glitches, slowdowns and dropouts. If something goes wrong, you’ll feel like you’re on your own. But stay calm and we’ll be patient while you find a way to reconnect. 

If connections drop-out, wait for presenters to re-join the session. Each presenter will have the half-hour slot allocated to them in which to present and take questions. Don’t move on until it is time for the next speaker to present. 

Each conference session will run in a zoom break-out room. The chair will be a Zoom co-host in the session. Chairs, presenters and attendees are encouraged to help each other with issues.  There is no technician available to trouble-shoot individual issues that presenters encounter. 

If a presentation does not proceed as planned in the scheduled time, due to technical issues or other disruptions, presenters may share their presentation via the conference website by emailing Rea Dennis (

If a presenter runs out of time for questions, suggest that they share their email address in the session chat, and encourage listeners to stick around after the session.