Guidelines for Flash Session Chairs

Thank you for serving as the chair of a PAA flash session. The quality and tenor of the session will be impacted by your work.

Note that your role as chair includes both pre-conference preparation and facilitation during the conference. Please build a good rapport among the presenters in advance (by making introductions/connections among the participants) to set a positive tone during the session (by ensuring a fair allocation of available time and fostering a collegial and professional exchange).


At least two weeks before the conference, connect with all of your session participants, including discussants, on the following points:

  1. Discuss the ground rules for the session using the Guidelines for Flash Session Presenters. Each flash session will have 6-8 presenters. Sessions are just 75 minutes long. For flash sessions, a benchmark schedule would be 3 minutes to get going and make introductions, 5 slides and 5 minutes for each presentation, and the remaining time (i.e., 30-40 minutes) for circulation and discussion.

  2. Presenters in flash sessions are not required to upload full papers, 

  3. Please let members of your session know that all materials received (papers and presentations) should not be circulated to anyone beyond the participants in the session.

At the Session

  1. Arrive early. Locate and welcome your speakers and attendees. Make sure you have the correct pronunciation of participants’ names.

  2. Please make sure to start on time and end on time. This maximizes the time allocated for content and keeps the overall conference on schedule. As is typical for PAA meetings, we strongly encourage you to defer all audience questions and comments until the end

  3. Please set the stage. Welcome the audience, introduce yourself (name and affiliation) as the Chair, and identify the session title. You may add a brief comment or two to prime the audience for the session, but please limit your remarks to avoid impinging on presenters’ time. Please notify the audience that they will have an opportunity to visit with each presenter at their poster  after the last presentation.

  4. We encourage you to introduce each presenter and title as one speaker is transitioning to the next. You can thank the previous presenter and introduce the next, noting the name and affiliation of the individual giving the presentation and the title of their paper.

  5. Please keep to the order listed in the program. Some people come to listen to one speaker and may be disappointed if the presentations are not made in order.

  6. Once all presenters have had a turn, invite the audience to visit each poster for a more in-depth discussion. Do not allow discussion at individual posters to take place before all presenters have finished..

  7. Please wrap-up and end on time. Clearly define the conclusion of the session by thanking the presenters and the audience and state that the session has ended.

  8. Please troubleshoot if necessary. As the chair, people will turn to you should problems arise and expect you to manage the session and respond to challenges. Click the “Help” button top of the screen if there are technical issues. PAA Staff will be in the room at the beginning of all flash sessions. You can also email PAA staff at This email will go to all PAA staff who will provide help as soon as possible. Please keep in mind that this email address will only be monitored from the start of the pre-conference workshop until the end of the conference, and staff will only respond to emails concerning technical issues or emergencies.