4-9 September 2022, Bonn, Germany

Chairperson guidelines for poster sessions: online and onsite

This year poster sessions are a big challenge: in the abstract submission we did allow for online and onsite poster preference indications; until 9 June authors could still update their choice on onsite or online presentation.

The overwhelming majority of poster authors will present their poster onsite at the venue in Bonn (167 posters, 89%) while 20 authors opted for online presentation, with many sessions without any online poster, and most other sessions not having more than 1 online poster. This led to various challenges in the organisation of the poster sessions:

  • Space onsite is limited due to various restriction at the university, related to security and hygiene regulations;
  • Providing a platform for online posters;
  • Consider how to combine onsite and online poster sessions, and assessing the uptake of such opportunities at other conferences.

Here is this year’s approach

  • We needed to schedule a change of onsite posters on the boards each evening (apart from Thursday);
  • The platform gather.town is developed to display posters online during the entire conference week: we invite all poster presenters of online and onsite posters to upload their poster. This way also the onsite posters which are on the board for only one day, can be shown and visited for the entire week.
  • Author-in-attendance times at the poster board (“Poster Sessions") are scheduled in parallel to the oral session programme. The change of posters almost every evening thus means that for some of the sessions, in particular large ones that last one full day or more, the poster session takes place on a different day than the oral sessions, in some cases preceding the oral session.
  • No separate poster session times for online poster display has been scheduled.

Please find more details at on the EMS2022 format

Independent of the new challenges that come along with a hybrid meeting, chairing a poster session at a scientific conference is a challenging task as it implies direct questioning and dialogue on synthesised points of a scientific work. The job of the chairperson is to make the session informative, interesting and lively by facilitating excellent communication between the speakers and the audience. The following are guidelines for chairpersons to help make this happen.

Poster session (author-in-attendance time): onsite and online

Authors of posters are requested to attend to their poster during the time their poster presentation is scheduled. As the chairperson you should try to attend to as many posters of your session as possible. This task could be split, especially for sessions having many posters, and those having onsite as well as online posters, by nominating more than one chairperson.

Rule 1: Prepare yourself

Prepare yourself for the session by reading the abstracts of the contributions, check whether the authors have uploaded their poster and/or accompanying material as display material to the conference platform, all in advance of the conference week. Thus, you will always be aware of what to expect and be in a good position to instigate a discussion with the poster presenter. Convenors see an overview of all uploaded display material in the session modification dashboard. Live presentation files are also accessible but these are expected to become available only shortly before the meeting as authors often leave preparation and fine-tuning to the last minute.

Rule 2: Chair for online and onsite poster session

Should your session include one or more online poster presentations please designate a chairperson(s) who will attend gather.town at the scheduled poster session time and the respective poster online.

Rule 3 – online: Go to gather.town early

Early in the conference week please access gather.town (a link will be provided from the Home page ems2022.eu) and already visit the posters related to your session; ideally, they are all on display by Monday 5 September 2022 and will remain here the entire week. Posters are organised in four different poster display areas, according to the onsite display times (“Posters – Monday”, …).

Rule 3 - onsite: Get to the venue early

Get to the venue early and make sure you know in which area posters of your session are located and which are the poster board numbers that are allocated to posters of your session.

Rule 4: Find out in advance whether all poster presenters are present

You can check with the Copernicus staff at the registration desk whether they have registered, or go through the poster area and check whether the posters have already been put up at the designated poster boards.

Poster pitches

If you have scheduled time for poster pitches in your session, please invite poster presenters (online and onsite) in advance to prepare 1 slide about their poster. Note, that upload of a live presentation slide for poster authors is not possible because the live presentation upload is reserved for the electronic versions of the poster itself; thus, please ask the authors to send the slide in advance to you and compile these for upload by the conference assistant in the room (see details at guidelines for chairpersons and moderators of oral sessions).

You may of course prefer to introduce the posters of the session you are chairing yourself. This will involve asking all poster presenters to provide 2–3 sentences on the main message of their poster or a slide you could use. To contact all poster authors in advance please use the mailtool in your session dashboard.
In case you have not already scheduled time for poster pitches, please still prepare as recommended above for a gap that may occur in your programme due to a no-show and may then be used for the poster pitches.

Otherwise, many of the "rules" prepared for the chairperson guidelines for oral sessions apply accordingly for the poster introduction slot:

  • Introduce the poster presenter.
  • Mention the poster board number, and whether to find it online and/or onsite (if not done by the author).
  • Ensure that the speaker is audible, i.e. check and correct the position of the microphone, especially for speakers with a low voice.
  • Communicate to the speaker how much time is available for the poster pitch; for example, stand up after 0:45 seconds and time is over after 01:00 min; the Limitimer available in the room may be used.
  • NO question and answers: Do not allow questions and discussions during the poster introduction time, but invite the audience to discuss all questions and suggestions with the author in front of the poster in the poster area or in the online poster area on gather.town.

Appendix: How to designate a Chairperson

Normally (one of) the convener(s) who prepared the session is also chairing (part of) the session. Should this not be possible, speakers/authors may be nominated by the appropriate convener(s) or asked by the meeting organiser to act as chairperson of a particular sub-session. In order for the meeting organiser to maintain the quality of the scientific programme, it is essential that the chairpersons are aware of the tasks and how to lead a session and discussions.

If your session is large, i.e. consists of more than 8–10 posters, then it may be advisable to nominate more than one chairperson for the poster session.

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