Session chair guidelines

The FOSS4G conferences are easy-going and welcoming environments. As a session chair, you have the power to create and sustain this attitude. Taking the stage before tens and tens of people might be a real challenge for some of us. Let’s try to make it an enjoyable and comfortable experience for all of us - the speakers and the audience.

  • Try to make beforehand contact with speakers in the session you are chairing. Maybe they have some ideas about how they want to be introduced. This is especially useful if you don’t know them personally. Chairing a session is a super way of getting to know new people.
  • Be there at least 10 minutes before the session begins. That will leave time to sort out any problems that may arise.
  • There will be volunteers in the session rooms. They are there to assist you and can help you with any technical questions.
  • Slides for the talks in the session will be downloaded to the venue room computer by a volunteer from the pretalx schedule at . Make sure all the presentations are there before the session starts. If there are any issues please consult the volunteer in the room.
  • Your task is to introduce the speaker and the talk. In which way you do it is entirely up to you.
  • Also guiding the QA session after the presentation. If and how many questions a speaker can have depends on the amount of time available. Although the event is streamed, questions will be taken only from the on-site crowd. Please keep in mind that because of streaming/recording all spoken word needs to go into the microphone even if the venue room is small and it seems pointless.
  • Please stick to the schedule! This is super important for 2 reasons - we have five parallel sessions running in different rooms at all times, and there’s also a live stream audience we need to think about.
    • Talks should start on time (and not before) because there are people coming from other sessions, and a live stream audience who are following the schedule.
    • Talks should end on time (and not later) so the session audience will have at least five minutes to change to another session/room if they want to.
  • You are responsible for timing the talks. The rooms will be equipped with “5 min” and “1 min” signs you can use to signal the speaker for the time that is left. So:
    • a regular talk is 20 minutes of presentation time, 5 minutes QA, and 5 minutes for changing rooms/speakers.
    • a lightning talk is 4 minutes presentation time, 1 minute changing rooms/speakers. No QA time during the slot.
  • What if the speaker does not turn up? You can choose how you fill the unexpected break. Please do not, under any circumstances, take the next talk in the schedule, there are people in other sessions who have planned to come for the talk, too! And please notify the conference program committee about the no-show speaker/presentation.

And that should be pretty much it. If you have any further questions please feel free to get back to us .

We, the Tartu LOC, are very excited to welcome you to our hometown!

Department of Geography,
University of Tartu

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