Session Chair Information: 2024 MSA Annual Meeting

2024 MSA Session Chair Information

Thanks to everyone who has accepted an invitation to chair a session or symposium. The MSA 2024 Annual Meeting is scheduled to be an in-person meeting from June 9-12, 2024 at the Hilton Toronto/Markham Hotel and Convention Center in Markham, Ontario, Canada.  This is a live, in-person meeting.

If you are unable to serve as a Session Chair for MSA 2024, please contact MSA immediately.

Session Rooms and Equipment

There are three primary session rooms that will be in use during the meeting.  The general session room will have a dedicated audio/visual (AV) technician assigned to that room.  Sessions in this room may be recorded or live streamed.  The other two smaller rooms are for breakout sessions.  There will be an AV technician who will be “floating” between these two rooms.

Each room has a PC laptop connected to the projector with one or two projection screens.

Upon request: A Mac laptop is available on a first-come, first-served basis, and is on standby for a presenter’s use if needed. (A presenter must notify MSA in advance to prearrange the use of a Mac.)

Each room also will have a laser pointer and slide advancer.

A podium microphone and a wireless lavaliere microphone will be available for presenters.

A set of two (2) time cards. Use the yellow card at the one-minute remaining mark. The red card is used when time is up.

All presentation slides should be formatted to 16:9 widescreen for all presentations.

Things to Bring to Your Session

Speaker names and titles of their talks – refer to program/abstracts.

Each presentation is set to 15 minutes. All speakers have been emailed individually how long their talk should be. A list of presenters and titles will be placed at the podium prior to the start of each session.

A watch, phone, or other device for time-keeping.

Session Duration and Timing

The duration of each spoken session is determined by the number of presentations.  Each session has 5 or 6 presentations.  If a session has 5 presenters, the total length is 1 hour, 45 minutes.  Sessions with 6 presentations are 2 hours.

The total duration for each session includes a 15 minute break and 15 minutes for Q&A at the end of the session.  Individual presentations are 15 minutes each.

Tasks for Session Chairs

Appear in the room at least 20 minutes before the session starts.

Test the equipment and ask a volunteer to call a technician if there are any technical issues. (Instructions on how to reach an audio-visual technician will be located on the head table/podium.)

Introduce yourself to the presenters, and ask them how to pronounce their names.

Help them copy their files to the laptop and show them how to use the equipment (if necessary). An audio/visual technician should be available for each session if you need assistance.

Take note of each presenter you have seen and determine if there are any no-shows (and no pre-recorded talk).

Besides the speaker timer located on the head table/podium area, let presenters know how you will help them keep the time. Show them the optional speaker timer cards that you may use if they are running over their allotted time.

When the session starts, briefly announce the plan for the session (e.g., “Welcome to the session on [title]. We have [number] presentations in this session. Presenter [name] is not here. Therefore, there are [number] talks. The Q&A period will be at the end of the session.”).

Briefly announce each speaker, and help them get started if necessary. (Remember to check the start time for each presenter.)

Try to keep to the speaker time schedule of 15 minutes per presentation. It is suggested to show cards for 1 minute and 0 minutes (red card) remaining for the talk itself. For  session rooms that don’t have a timer, it is recommended to use the cards provided by MSA to “count down” their end time.

If the speaker continues beyond the total time, only allow up to an additional 2-3 minutes maximum to keep the sessions on time.

For the Q&A Period:
Invite the audience to ask questions and point at the person you are inviting to speak. If there is an audience microphone, have the volunteers help pass the microphone or encourage them to go to the microphone stand in the middle of the room.

If there is silence, consider making a comment or asking a question yourself.

Let the audience know when there is only time for one more question.

For Student Volunteers

Sessions may have a volunteer assigned to the meeting room. Please introduce yourself to that person before the session begins. Let the volunteers know if anything in the meeting room is amiss and they can notify one of the MSA or AV staff. They can help with lights in the meeting room and locate an AV technician if there are any problems during your session. Optional: Consider exchanging phone numbers. In the event something should happen during the presentation, you can text each other so as not to disrupt the speaker.

We look forward to seeing you in Ontario, and we hope you enjoy the conference!