Thematic and Community Session Chair Instructions

Note: workshop presenters should contact the workshop organizer directly for instructions. Workshop talks will not be uploaded in the Speaker Ready Room.

Thank you for your contribution to the meeting! So that sessions run smoothly, we ask you to please read the following before the conference.


All speakers in your session will be contacted by April 1, 2020 with instructions on uploading their presentation. Please email them in advance of the conference as well, reminding them of these important points:

  • The day BEFORE your presentation you must upload your talk in the Speaker Ready Room in the Camellia Room of the Gaylord National Harbor on the Ballroom level. It is not possible to upload slides in the room in which you will be speaking.
  • On the day of your presentation, please arrive thirty minutes prior to the start of the session (not your individual talk time, but the overall session start time) to check in with your session chair.
  • For more information on the upload process or questions about how you should prepare your files, please visit our content management partner, LaunchPad. You can also email them at gsa-upload@warpspeedtech.com.
  • The talks in most sessions are a total of 15 minutes (12 minute talk and 3 minutes Q&A) each.
  • When you arrive in your session room, please take a seat at the front of the room in one of the seats with a “reserved” sign.
  • You will have a speaker timer that will automatically start when you get to the podium. When the green light on the timer switches to yellow you will need to wrap up and take questions. When the timer turns to red your allotted time is over.

Checking Your Session

Please check in at the Speaker Ready Room the day before your session to familiarize yourself with the equipment and make sure that all of your speakers have uploaded their presentations. We ask that you get in touch with any missing speakers as soon as possible. Slides CANNOT be uploaded in the meeting room.

Remind all speakers that members of the audience may publish public social media post about their talk unless the speaker “opts out” by clearly instructing the audience, at the beginning of their talk, that they do not want information from their talk shared on social media. This is at the discretion of the speaker.

Please arrive at your session room 30 minutes prior to the start of the session and introduce yourself to the technician who can help with any concerns.

Room Set

The room will be equipped with an LCD projector, screen, mouse, specially designed laptop, and timer. The laptop will allow the speaker to look at the audience and use the podium microphone without needing to turn and look at the screen. The mouse will also serve as the slide advancer and pointer.

There will be a head table on the riser where you can sit and moderate the session and have clear visibility of the speaker timer. We are using a new type of pointer that will be visible on multiple screens without the presenter having to look away from the audience.

There will be “reserved” signs on the front row. The speakers will be notified to sit in those seats so they have easy access to the stage. You will also see a wireless, hand-held microphone in the front row. Please designate someone to be a “mic runner.” You will be running the session and can direct the mic runner as you see fit to get to people’s questions without the audience having to move around too much.

Start on time and stay on time. 

Please sit at the head table on the riser. From there you will be able to see the speaker timer and the slides on the confidence monitor. Your introduction should consist of the speaker’s name and talk title.

Many people move from room to room to hear specific talks at specific times, so if a speaker starts to go over time, it is your job to thank them and move on to the next speaker. A speaker timer will be on the stage and will be set so that the light will change from green to yellow when the speaker needs to wrap up and ask for questions. When the light goes to red the speaker must stop. It is equally important to be able to “fill” if the speaker ends early. The timer will automatically start when the speaker takes the stage.

After the speaker finishes, ask the audience if they have any questions and direct the speaker runner to those who have questions. If the audience does not have questions, moderators should be prepared with a question or two. However, if the speaker’s allotted time is finished, the Q&A time should be skipped. In rare instances you may have to stop the speaker if they go over their allotted time to allow for the next speaker to begin their talk and have their full talk time.

Administrative Announcements

At the beginning of your session you may be asked to make an administrative announcement. If so, that information will be at the lectern. At the beginning of the session, please remind the audience that Tweeting about the session is okay unless the speaker opts out at the beginning of their talk. There should be no photography during the session. There will be a static slide walk-in slide that has your name, photo and three words that describe your research. You will be sent a request for your photo and three words from the GSA Conferences Department.

Please contact Suzy Brown or Anne Marie Mahoney at GSAConferences@genetics-gsa.org if you have any questions. Thank you!