ISEE – NAC Conference 2023


June 19-21, 2023 | Oregon State University • Corvallis, Oregon

Session Chair Guidelines

To download/view a PDF version of the ISEE NAC 2023 Session Chair Guidelines CLICK HERE.

Guidelines for ISEE NAC 2023 Conference Chairs

Thank you for serving as a chair for an ISEE NAC session. Session atmosphere and quality depend on your efforts. Your role begins prior to the conference and extends through the end of the session. You can build connections between the speakers/presenters, set the session’s tone, ensure fair time allocation, assure that all participants feel safe, welcomed, and included, and promote discussion to advance science.

ISEE is a diverse and international society. As a session chair, you can support groups that may need additional assistance: those presenting at a conference for the first time or that speak English as a second (or third! οr fourth!) language. Being a session chair is an excellent opportunity to connect with these members, in particular, to provide encouragement, extra guidance on presentation, and session expectations.

ISEE sessions usually feature co-chairs. Please make sure to contact your co-chair prior to the conference to decide on what role each chair will take on before and during the session and coordinate the logistics.

  1. Please connect with your speakers prior to the conference and request they send you a short description about their presentations (max 2-3 sentences) for you to use when introducing the them.
  2. Lay ground rules. Explain to speakers how the session will run, and how much time you will allocate to each speaker, in accordance with the conference guidelines. Questions will be taken either at the end of the session, after all speakers have presented, or after each presentation, according to session guidelines. These guidelines will vary from year to year and depend on the allocated duration for each session and the number of presenters.
  3. Encourage presenters to share slides or notes prior to the session so other speakers can review and create linkages across presentations and save time by avoiding redundancies (e.g., explaining ozone formation multiple times).
  4. Familiarize yourself with speaker names and affiliations.
  5. Please prepare at least one question for each presentation to facilitate discussion at the end of the presentation or session.

During the session

  1. Make sure that you and all presenters arrive at the session 10-15 minutes before the session begins. This will give you all a chance to check technical details and go through the session flow once again before the session starts. If you have questions about the pronunciation of the names of the speakers, please ask during this time. Also, please determine the tasks of both chairs; who moderates the session flow, who monitors the questions coming from audience for each presentation or at the end of the session, etc.
  2. An OSU IT technician will be available if needed.
  3. Troubleshoot. As the (co-)chair, people will look to you if problems arise and expect you to manage the session and respond to any challenges.
  4. Begin the session on time. This is imperative in order to give speakers their allotted time to present and audience members ample time for discussion.
  5. Set the tone. Introduce yourself (name and affiliation) as the chair, invite the co-chair to introduce themselves, and reiterate the session topic. You may wish to make some short remarks (< 3 minutes) to prime the audience for the session.
  6. Inform the audience how they will ask their questions.
  7. Follow the presentation order in the program.
  8. Introduce each speaker (name, affiliation, general topic) before their presentation. Transition between each presentation by thanking the prior speaker and introducing the next. There is also the option that you ask speakers to simply mention their name and topic at start of their talk (i.e., (co-)chairs do not introduce presenters). Please agree on this prior to the session start.
  9. You may interrupt speakers to ask them to speak more slowly, audibly, or clearly. Please make sure to not interrupt in the middle of a sentence.
  10. Treat speakers equally and make sure each receives their allotted time. To aid presenters, alert them if/when there is one minute left in their time. Be firm.
  11. You must stop a presenter who exceeds their allocated time. Failure to do so is unfair to other presentations and the audience. Here are a few strategies. You can provide a 1- minute warning. Then, you may firmly tell the speaker it is time to stop now. Stopping speakers will be much easier if you communicate your responsibility to all presenters at the beginning of the session to ensure the session runs on time and smoothly.
  12. Facilitate discussion. Audience participation greatly improves the quality of sessions. Further, audience members will be disappointed if there is no time for questions.
  13. Please ensure to equitably select questions so that all speakers are given the opportunity to respond to questions about their presentations. In the case that one presenter receives the majority of the questions, please come prepared with at least one question for all presenters.
  14. End the session on time. Close the session by thanking presenters.

Issues that may arise


  1. You cannot/no longer chair the session. Please alert the organizing committee immediately so a replacement can be found.
  2. (Co-)Chair does not show up. Moderate the entire session yourself. You may ask (before joining the session) for one of the presenters to assist you in moderation. In the case both chairs do not show up, a presenter will need to moderate the session.
  3. A presenter goes over their time limit. Establish rules upfront. Explain why everyone must stay on time (fairness to other speakers and audience). If this does not work, say something like “I hate to cut such an interesting presentation short, but in fairness to others, I must.”
  4. No one asks questions. You must have noted down a question or two before the session; ask them.
  5. Presenter does not show up. Contact the program coordinators and the ISEE organizing committee and let them know. Keep the original presenter order.
  6. Aggressive questioning. Please be aware of this, particularly if such comments are directed towards a student or early-career scientist or those who do not speak English as their first language. Please either rephrase to tone down while reading the question or ignore overly aggressive questions. Remind the audience that our goal is to create a safe space for constructive feedback.