Technical Session Guide for the Session Chair

(Last revised October 2018)


General Information

A technical session at a PES meeting may take one, or possibly a combination, of the following forms:

  • poster session
  • Transactions paper session
  • panel session (intended for broad coverage of an area of interest)

This guide is intended to assist the session chair in the planning, organizing, and conducting of such sessions.


Prior to the Meeting

Panel Sessions

The chair and the organizer of a panel session are very often the same individual. You, as this person, will lay the foundation for the success of the session during the planning part of the process. These sessions need to be planned well in advance to be successful. In planning the session you need, as a minimum, to do the following:

  • Define a scope for the session so that the objectives for the session are clear and the session can be focused on meaningful information dissemination or exchange.
  • Submit the necessary information in the appropriate time frame to the organizers of the conference/meeting so that the event can be included in the meeting program. (See Part 3 of the Author’s Kit for details.)
  • Select and obtain commitments from the participants in the session to support the published dates for finalization of technical sessions.
  • Prepare a schedule for the session that will allow for sufficient discussion involving the audience as well as for needed breaks.
  • Discuss and get agreement from each participant in the session on the subject to be covered in the presentation by the speaker(s).
  • Each participant must use the PES PPT template and must sign the IEEE Copyright / Consent Form so the presentation can be posted in the PES Resource Center.
  • Contact the authors to obtain copies of the PowerPoint slides used for the presentation. (They must be on the PES PPT template. If the presentation is not on the PES PPT template, the presenter may not speak at the session.) Review the slides to ensure that the illustrations are legible and conform to the publication Guidelines for Preparing Visuals for PES Presentations. Review the illustrations to ensure that they do not contain commercial information in violation of IEEE PES policies. A company logo may be on the first and last slides only. (Please note that panel presentations will be collected at the meeting for posting on the PES web site. The presentations must be provided with any embedded movies removed.)
  • Session participants have been directed to contact you if they require equipment in addition to what is standard. Any cost incurred is the responsibility of the presenter, and must be paid in advance with a credit card. Contact the appropriate member of the meeting’s local committee to make arrangements for the equipment required. Be sure to do so well in advance of the meeting to allow time for arrangements to be made.
  • Obtain biographies from each of the session participants so that they can be properly introduced.
  • Solicit discussion from the audience in advance of the meeting from knowledgeable individuals who will attend the meeting. You should also be prepared with questions of your own in case the discussion is slow in getting started.

Poster Sessions

A poster session will include Proceedings papers that have been approved by a technical committee. Authors must create and bring their poster to the conference. There is no poster template. The only requirement is that the poster fit on a board 48 inches x 48 inches. During the poster session, the author is required to be in the session for the duration of the session, which is typically 3 hours long. The author should be prepared to present the paper, or portions of the paper, as often as is requested by the audience during the session. It is anticipated that the poster presentation will be more on a one-on-one basis than to a larger audience, so questions are posed as they occur to the listeners.

Confirmation of Preparations at the Meeting

For Panel Sessions, Transactions Paper Sessions, and Paper Forums

At General Meetings of the Power & Energy Society, a breakfast meeting is held on the day of the session at which session chairs and presenters can make final plans. If a specific PES meeting does not provide such a scheduled opportunity, you will need to make individual arrangements to satisfy the objectives listed below. At this meeting:

All Sessions

  • Verify that all presenters are prepared. As the chair, you have the authority to cancel a presentation if the assigned speaker or substitute is not prepared or not qualified. Presenters must be able to respond to discussions verbally in English. If the presentation is canceled you must notify the appropriate Technical Committee Program Chair.
  • The chair has the authority to review all visuals (media presentations) that are to be used. If any do not meet standards, require that they be revised or removed from the presentation.

Panel Sessions

  • Verify the pronunciation of names and biographical information of speakers for use in the introductions.
  • Review the session's agenda and procedures. A timetable should be prepared. It is satisfactory to allot 15 to 25 minutes for each presentation, depending on the number of presentations in the session. It is very important that the presentations do not exceed the time agreed upon so that there will be time for interaction with the audience. The time and duration of recesses can be adjusted to agree with the actual time expended and grouping of the papers.
  • Determine if any author has an objection to having his or her presentation recorded by someone in the audience. A tape-recording of a presentation may be made only with the permission of the author. If an author does object, it will be necessary to so state in the session at the start of that presentation.

Poster Sessions

  • Emphasize that authors are required to stay with their posters through the entire session, taking only minimal time away for required breaks.
  • Advise authors that it is their prerogative to refuse permission to anyone to record the presentation or discussion.


At the Session

Panel Sessions

  • Arrive at the session room at least 15 minutes ahead of the scheduled time of the session, introduce yourself to the floor monitor and check that the following equipment is in place and operating properly:
    (a) LCD projector and projection screen
    (b) power and extension cords
    (c) podium and microphone
    (d) water, glasses.
    Any other presentation equipment is the responsibility of the presenter, who must personally make arrangements for its availability and payment for its rental after obtaining (in advance) your permission to do so.
  • At the start of the session, introduce yourself and give a brief synopsis of the session.
  • Announce any changes in presentation schedule from that published in the program that are needed to accommodate the presenters. Changes in order of presentation from the published program should be avoided, if possible.
  • Introduce each presenter in sequence. By your choice, introduce all authors or only those involved in the presentation or present in the meeting room. Announce to the audience at the start of any paper when the author has asked to not be recorded.
  • Warn the speaker three minutes before time expires. Tell the speakers in advance what technique you will use to alert them.
  • Notify the speaker when time has expired, and call for discussion.

Discussion at Panel Sessions

It is very important to solicit participation from the audience in panel sessions and to allow sufficient time for questions and answers. At your choice, you may allow for questions immediately following a presentation, or keep all discussions until after all of the presentations. Written questions may be solicited from the audience but time must be allocated for spontaneous questions and answers. State at the start of the session how questions will be handled. You should also:

  • Be prepared with your own questions if required to get the audience questions started.
  • Fairly allocate time so that all aspects of the session will be open for questions and comments from the audience.
  • Provide a summary of the main points addressed in the sessions, lessons learned, etc. at the end of the session.


After the Session

All Sessions

  • Complete the presenter attendance information e-mailed to you from Maria Proetto.