PLANSx Author Resource Center

Session Chair Responsibilities

Thank you for agreeing to be a session chair. This Author Resource Center is designed to help all authors, presenters, and session chairs prepare for the conference.

As the Meeting Approaches

  • Make contact with each of the authors scheduled to present in your session to verify that their papers have been completed; their paper authorization cycle has been completed; and they are still planning on being present at the meeting to make their presentation.
  • If you have not already done so, I would encourage you to send them a letter of introduction and provide them with your contact information so that they know how to reach you should the need arise.
  • Please notify the National Office of any program changes that are brought to your attention so that we can ensure that your session’s signage and other onsite materials are as accurate as possible.  Any program correction/changes received by the National Office prior to August 21, 2020 will be reflected in the onsite program.
  • Hotel reservations must be made by August 21 at the official conference hotel. Reserve online.
  • All session chairs are required to pay registration fees. The last day to postmark conference registration without a late fee is August 21.

Speakers’ Breakfast

You are required to attend a Speakers' Breakfast on the morning of your session.  (The Speakers' Breakfast is for the author who will be making the verbal paper presentation and their session chairs.)  The Speakers' Breakfast will be held from 7:30 a.m. - 8:15 a.m. in Grand Ballroom F at the St. Louis Union Station Hotel.

You will be seated at the breakfast with the authors making oral presentations during your session and with those authors prepared to step in as alternates should the need arise.  All authors have been asked to provide you (at the speaker breakfast) with some brief biographical information.  You may use this information for introduction purposes prior to the presentation of each paper. 

The Speakers' Breakfast is a mandatory event for each author responsible for a scheduled paper that day.  The author representing each oral paper, as well as the author representing each alternate paper, should attend the speaker breakfast.  The authors have been notified in the author’s kit if they are not in attendance, or have not made prior arrangements with you, their session chairs; you may be forced to allocate their presentation time to another paper.  Alternate authors must be in attendance and prepared to present if called upon.  If an alternate author is not present at the breakfast, and/or not prepared to make an oral presentation if called upon, their paper will not be published in the proceedings.  (See Author Kit for complete author instructions.)  If this occurs please mark the sign located at the door of the session room so we are aware the paper should not be included in the conference proceedings.

Alternate Authors 

Alternate authors have been instructed to attend the speakers' breakfast and be ready to make an oral presentation in the event of one or more cancellations of primary papers.  Complete technical papers for all alternate presentations will appear in the meeting proceedings as long as the alternate author attended their assigned session and was prepared to present if needed.

Program and Scheduling

The complete program brochure is available on the ION website:  You may refer to the program for presentation schedules.  You may request an electronic or print copy of the program by emailing The final on-site conference program will be available at the conference. We would like this program to be as accurate as possible.  Any program corrections/changes received by the National Office prior to August 21 will be reflected in the on-site program.

We are making a concerted effort to keep sessions on a structured time schedule.  This will make it possible for registrants to schedule their day and flow from session to session.  Each paper will be given a specific starting time that will be printed in the on-site program.  We will need your assistance in making sure that the printed schedule is strictly adhered to.  To assist us in this objective, we will be asking you to operate a timed lighting device (this lighting device will be demonstrated during the Speakers' Breakfast).  The system has been designed with a red, yellow and green light.

  1. The Green light will display for 15 minutes.
  2. The Yellow light will display five minutes.
  3. The Red light will signify that the presentation time is over; the speaker must immediately return the floor to the Session Chair.

Authors have been instructed that their microphone will be shut off once they have gone 30 seconds over their allotted time, or 30 seconds after the red light illuminates.

Time between the conclusion of one presentation and the scheduled commencement of the following presentation may be used at your discretion for questions and answers, or, for the introduction of the next presenter.  Please limit your introductions as to make sure that they do not overlap into the author’s presentation time.  Remember that the objective is to keep multiple sessions running on the same time schedule.

There will be a uniformed computer/audio-visual technician close to your session room at all times.  Do not hesitate to call on this person should you need assistance during your session.  This technician will also provide you with a lavaliere microphone and laser pointer for author presentations and a wireless hand-held microphone for question and answer periods.  We would ask that you circulate the hand-held microphone for question and answer periods.  Please be sure to collect this equipment at the conclusion of your session and return it to the audio-visual technician in your session room.

Your Responsibilities as an ION Session Chair

As a Session Chair your goal should be to manage the session to the satisfaction of the conference participants.

  • Remember that most conference attendees justify their attendance on the basis of the published program.  Please ensure that each presentation commences on time, and request that a presenter who goes beyond their scheduled time vacate the floor.  (Authors have been informed that their microphone will be shut off once they have gone 30 seconds past their allotted time.)  If you do not wish to be in the potentially difficult position of having to deal firmly with a speaker you should let your Track Chair know in advance so that an alternate Chair can be found. 
  • Under no circumstances should Session Chairs use their privileged position to propagate their own views, especially at the expense of the published schedule. 
  • Please be advised that flash photography is prohibited, as is the audio or video taping of a presentation without the presenter’s permission.  We would also appreciate it if you would ask attendees to set cell phones to vibrate.

How to Deal with Paper Cancellations/Substitutions 

If you should experience a cancellation in your session and you are able to replace the cancellation with the first alternate paper in your session, it is imperative that the alternate paper be substituted in the canceled paper’s original time slot.  For example, if the third scheduled paper is canceled, or a presenter fails to show, then the replacement paper should also present in the third time slot.

If, for any reason, an alternate paper is not available then the canceled paper’s original time slot should remain vacant.  Under no circumstances should you reschedule the remaining presentations scheduled in the published program as this greatly aggravates conference participants who have scheduled their day based on the posted times.

If you are made aware of any paper cancellations and/or replacements in your session, please announce these changes at the beginning of your session.  We would also ask that you note any paper cancellations or no-shows, and any alternates that fill these vacancies directly on the session signage located outside the session room door.  These signs are collected and changes recorded at the end of each day in order to ensure the conference proceedings accurately reflect what transpired during your session.  Your assistance in getting this information accurately communicated will be greatly appreciated and will assist the National Office in correctly assembling the conference proceedings.   

If you have any additional questions or concerns at this time please contact:

Miriam Lewis
Program/Author Liaison