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Mark Harman's Guidelines for SESSION Chairing

Thanks for agreeing to be a session chair.

This is a vital and important role in ensuring that the workshop progresses effectively and that the technical aspects of the program are covered properly. Session chairs are this invaluable to our community and you are part of making ICSM a memorable and successful event.

Here are some points to guide you in your role as session chair.

1. It is good to allow time for discussion and questions. Ideally, suggest to speakers that they have 20 minutes for talking and 10 minutes for questions and discussion. In practice, don't cut a good talk off unless the speaker runs over the 30 minutes. However, start to give them prompts after 25 minutes and on NO ACCOUNT allow any talk to go beyond the hard limit of 30 minutes.

2. If a speaker doesn't show up for any reason DO NOT alter the schedule. If the speaker is the first or second of your session then you will have to leave a gap. This ensures that attendees who plan to be absent for part of a session can do so, without missing the talks which they have chosen to go to. Hopefully, none of your speakers will be missing.

3. See your speakers well in advance of their talk and get a couple of sentences from them about themselves, which you can use to introduce them at the start of their talk. (This also helps to ensure that there are no missing speakers (see 2. above)).

4. If the discussion rambles or a question becomes too long, you should consider it your right to interrupt the questioner.

5. If there are no questions at the end of the talk, it is your job to think of a question to ask. This is a politeness to the speaker and avoids the embarrassment of there being no questions and a consequent `flat' end to the talk. Remember to be thinking of a good question to ask during the speakers' talks. If there are no questions at the end, ask your question. Feel free to ask your question even if there are other questions from the floor, but do not go over time.

6. Make sure the speakers know when they are talking.

7. If the speaker is using power point, make sure they have brought printed slides as a backup. If it turns out that the have brought power point and have no backup, refer them to the local arrangements chair immediately (so that they can produce a backup). It is sometimes for these sorts of reason that talks fail and this is also why its important to contact your speakers in advance of their session.

8. If a speaker is using a laptop, make sure they have brought a plug adapter that works in electrical sockets or that they know that they will need sufficient battery life for their talk. It is a good idea to make them use battery in any case, as this minimizes change over time between talks.

9. If the speaker is using a laptop, make sure that they realise that they need to be ready to go at least five minutes before their talk is due to start. We don't want the first five minutes of the talk to consit of the speaker searching through file manager, or booting up the irritatingly long windows start up sequence.

10. If you have any problems with equipment, room etc. contact the local arrangements chair.

11. (obvious point, but I often forget so here goes ...) Make sure you bladder is relatively empty before your session starts.

12. Make sure you know where the coffee break or lunch break is which follows your session, so that you can close the session by telling the attendees where to go next.

13. Start the session by introducing yourself and saying that you are the session chair.

14. Try to encourage attendees who want to ask questions (or make points in discussion) to raise their hand and do this `through the chair' (i.e. through you, when you select them to speak), thereby avoiding everyone talking at once.

15. If an exchange between any two attendees (or attendee and speaker) appears to be degenerating into a two way (or one way!) conversation of little interest to the other attendees, intervene and suggest that the two people concerned take their discussion `off line'.

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