Information for Chairs and Co-Chairs

(The most up-to-date info on which chairs are assigned to which sessions is on paperplaza.)

Your tasks as chair or co-chair are to ensure strict timing and smooth progression of your session, while also creating a welcoming atmosphere that stimulates scientific discussion. To achieve these goals, we set up the below guidelines. These are quite detailed, to also help junior (co-)chairs with limited experience, and to help everyone navigate this year’s digital environment.

In each session there will be 4, 5 or 6 paper presentation of 15 minutes each. 
The presenter will present their paper live within a maximum of 12 minutes, or authors have submitted a pre-recorded presentation of max. 12 minutes. After the presentation, there will be in any case live Q&A until the end of the slot (if the presentation and Q&A are shorter than this, a little break can follow, please do not proceed to the next paper before its designated slot, so that conference participants can easily switch between sessions).

All presenters are included in the programme on

Any messages to the attendees can be sent in the chat of the Zoom session.

~15 minutes before the session: Start setting up

  • Prepare your workspace for the session
    • Minimize distractions, silence any phones
    • Disable pop-up notifications where applicable (e.g. Outlook)
  • Check your microphone, Zoom-camera and screen sharing
    • If you’re using an external microphone or camera, make sure to plug them in
  • Connect to the session using the Zoom link on Papercept
    (If you have the Zoom app installed, open the link using the Zoom app)
  • Click on “Join Audio by Computer”, enable your microphone, and start your Zoom camera. Check that session attendees can see and hear you.
    (If you’re having problems, let the volunteer know)
  • Locate the session volunteer
    • Session volunteers will display as “Technical Assistant (Host)” with AIM2021 background (see example down below) ;
  • Identify yourself to the session volunteer as the chair/co-chair
    (The volunteer will grant you co-host privileges);
  • Identify the chair (if you are a co-chair) or the co-chair (if you are the chair);
  • Discuss with the chair/co-chair how you wish to distribute the below work of introducing presenters and moderating Q&A. For example, if you are the chair but also a presenter in the session, make sure you get introduced by your co-chair;
  • Verify that you both have co-host privileges. Additional controls will show up on your meeting toolbar (e.g. Security).
  • Please consider using the Zoom background provided by AIM 2021 (see example at the bottom) for your own camera feed, so that attendees can more easily recognize you as chair.

5-10 minutes before the session

  • Make sure you have the show/no-show form at hand; download here
  • Using the session program, identify the presenters, welcome them and perform a quick technical check
    • Read each paper’s title and ask the presenter to identify themselves to you;
    • If necessary, repeat the paper title and read the names of the authors;
    • If nobody responds, make a note and move on to the next paper Otherwise, continue
      If nobody identifies themselves as the presenter of a paper at the start of the session, be sure to ask again at the start of the presentation slot for that paper.
    • Ask the presenter to test their microphone, Zoom camera, and screen sharing;
    • Check whether the presenter wants to present live or have the technical support play their pre-recorded presentation;
    • If the presenter needs to play a video with audio in a live presentation, remind them to enable desktop audio when screen sharing using the “Share computer sound” option. 
  • Check that the presenters are all listed as co-hosts in the participant’s panel. If not, ask the volunteer to promote the presenters to co-hosts;
  • Fill in the show/no-show form as you go.

Immediately before you start

  • Let the volunteer know you’re ready to start;
    Ask participants to mute their microphones during the presentations;
  • Encourage everyone to keep their Zoom camera on, this increases the sense of community;
  • Explain to participants that they can ask questions during the presentations (whether live or pre-recorded) in the chat but also live during the discussion;
  • Ask the volunteer to spotlight you so your Zoom camera feed stays as the primary window for all participants.
    • The volunteer will spotlight your camera feed while you start the session/introduce speakers;
    • The volunteer will spotlight the presenter’s camera feed while they are presenting;
    • During a presentation (whether live or with a pre-recorded presentation), keep track of the questions coming in from participants through the Zoom chat;
    • At the start of the discussion, you can present the questions from the chat to the presenter so that he or she can answer the questions live during the discussion;
    • Asking a question yourself might trigger a discussion in case no questions are asked, and it shows appreciation to the presenter;
    • Therefore, please prepare at least one question per paper, and ask it if no one else asks a question;
    • If the Q&A is lively and there are still questions at the end of the allocated time, let attendees know that they can continue the discussion in the networking area within Spatial.Chat, and proceed to the next presentation.
  • For live presentations, make sure presenters do not go overtime. Once they have reached 12 minutes and are not already concluding, please politely let them know that the time is up and ask them to wrap up their presentation. Remind them again at 13 minutes, and make sure they do end at 14 minutes. Shorten the time for Q&A accordingly if presenters go overtime, such that the next presentation starts precisely at its allocated slot.

At the end of the session

  • When the session is scheduled to end, please announce that it is time to wrap up the session. Thank everyone for their contributions as presenter or attendee.
  • To ensure that the next sessions will start on time, we urge you not to go more than 5 minutes over time. If the discussion is still going on, let attendees know that they can continue the discussion in the networking area within Chat.

Zoom Background

You may use this picture to add as virtual background to your Zoom meetings! Click on the picture then right-click to ‘save as image’ it on your desktop. Check out the Zoom support page for more information about using virtual backgrounds.

Click on the photo then right-click to ‘save as image’ it on your desktop. Text may appear in Zoom reversed to you, but will be oriented correctly to others in Zoom.