Chair Tips and Instructions

Take a moment to review tips and instructions for this year’s panel chairs during the Virtual 2020 APSA Annual Meeting & Exhibition. Review all participant guidelines here.

Organize and keep panels on track 

Chairs are responsible for organizing and keeping panels on track in terms of time to ensure sure there is equal time given to the authors and presenters and adequate time left for discussion and audience questions. 

Panels run for 90 minutes. The next panel will start 30 minutes after. Broadcast rooms will not automatically close at the end time, but we do recommend staying as close to schedule as possible. 

Use a script for starting a session 

When starting a session, it is helpful to provide some introductory remarks to familiarize attendees with the panelists and the system. Here is a sample script to help start the panel: 

“I am [NAME], and I will be chairing today. Our presenters are [NAME, NAME, NAME]. To take part in our discussion, pleas use the chat function on the right hand side of your screen. To submit a question for me to share with the panel, please use the question box at the bottom of the screen. Please remember that we ask everyone to abide by the norms of professional courtesy and respect during the session in the service of fostering an open and inclusive scholarly discussion. Thank you.” 

Reminders for attendees

Remind attendees that most sessions will be available as recorded content for access later on. The below resources are available to all virtual meeting attendees:

Start a conversation in the chat 

Welcome people to the room and ask who has joined or where they’re joining from. This will help you and the presenters gauge the audience size and scope. 

The broadcast room focuses on presenters, so you will not see audience members. The chat and question submission box are crucial connection points with your audience. 

Using the chat during sessions 

Moderate the session chat, as needed. If there are websites or resources mentioned, add links in the chat box for attendees. 

Discussant Comments 

After presentations, invite discussants to share comments. Once the discussants are done, the discussant or chair can ask questions submitted by the audience. If there are no immediate questions, be prepared to ask one yourself. 


Questions and Polls 

Track questions submitted for the panel in the Q&A. If the majority of questions are focused on only one paper, try to refocus the audience on a common theme of the panel to expand the discussion. Run any polling required and report out the results. 

Signaling time to the other presenters 

You can signal time to other presenters by audibly chiming in briefly. Wrap up the panel on schedule. A few minutes over may be necessary, but do not let the panel go beyond that. 

Help the panelists keep their presentations to the allotted time and remember to signal time remaining toward the end of their presentations. In order to keep the panel on schedule and ensure everyone has sufficient time, be prepared to politely but firmly ask panelists to conclude, if they have gone over their allotted time. 

A simple “Thank-You” can go a long way 

Remember to thank the presenters and audience for taking the time to participate in your session!