Thank you for chairing a session at the 2021 Australian Earth Sciences Convention.

Please ensure you check the AESC Program prior to your session for any changes. You will also find the presentation details in the AESC Online Portal.

Below are some tips to assist you with the chairing process. We will schedule a rehearsal with you but please review the instructions thoroughly and jump into the portal prior to the session to make sure you are comfortable with accessing and using the Portal. 


  • Plenary sessions will run for 1 hour.
  • Advise delegates at the start of the session that the Awards and Medals will run directly after the plenary.
  • You will introduce the plenary speaker, their presentation title and their biography.
  • The plenary speaker will then present LIVE, for 40-45 minutes.
  • You and the presenter will both be on screen for the balance of the hour for a live Q&A session.
  • Awards and Medals will be announced at the conclusion of your Q&A. Hand over session to chair of the awards in your session.

Prior to the convention

  • All abstracts are available on the convention website. Please ensure you check who your plenary presenter is and read the abstract prior to the convention.
  • Their bio is also available here but we will email you a copy.
  • We will email you an outline of the schedule for your session.
  • Have questions prepared for your presenter as a back-up for the live Q&A.
  • Please read through the portal instructions prior to the convention to familiarise yourself with accessing your session. There will also be a scheduled rehearsal time with the conference organisers prior to the convention to run through how the session will run. To familiarise and make yourself comfortable with chairing the session we strongly recommend you attend a rehearsal. We will send you portal access login details prior to the rehearsal.

Before the Session

  • Please login to the Portal 30 minutes prior to the start of the session. Your session host will launch the session at this time to allow you to join the session and test that your microphone and camera are working.
  • Presenters have also been asked to be online 30 minutes before the session commences, you will be able to chat with them prior to the session verbally and if need be during the session via the presenter text chat.

During the Session

  • Your session host (a member of the conference organising team) will begin the session right on the scheduled time. There is a countdown clock built in to the portal to assist you with keeping to time.
  • Please reiterate at the beginning of the session to ask questions via the Live Q&A text option to the right of delegates screens.
  • Remind delegates to stay in the session following the plenary presentation, as the Awards and Medals will be announced in this same session.
  • Check your session schedule for your plenary speaker. We suggest introducing with the title, presenter and bio.
  • Once you have finished the introduction, your session host will then put the plenary presenter on stage and you will not be visible or heard until it is time for the Q&A. You can of course still engage with delegates in the session via the discussion forum.
  • If you need to speak with your session host, moderator, or presenters, there will be a “Presenter Chat” that you can use to type any questions you may have throughout the talk.

Running the Live Q&A

  • At the conclusion of the presentation, your session host will “push” you on screen for the the Q&A component of the session with the presenter.
  • At the start of the Q&A, please remind attendees that a number of Awards and Medals will be announced at the end of the Q&A. Please check the program for which awards and medals are being announced on which day.
  • Throughout the presentation, you and the moderator will see any questions come through in real time, and can star/take note of the questions you will then ask the presenter once they are finished. If you believe there is an inappropriate question, you/the moderator have the ability to delete it.
  • During the actual Q&A, you will read the question typed by the delegate to the presenter, they will then proceed to answer this verbally to the audience. The moderator will continue monitoring any new questions that come through so you can focus on engaging with the presenter.
  • You can then tick the question that has been asked and answered, to avoid any confusion and avoid repeating the question.

Transitioning to the Awards

There is a clock counting down the time left in the session within the portal, in the top right of your screen. It is important to keep an eye on this throughout the Q&A session, so that when the time is winding down you allow enough time to thank your presenter, thank the delegates for their questions, and hand over to Jo Parr who will run and announce the Awards in this session (listed in the convention program).

It is important you keep to the hour dedicated to your plenary presenter, so that the Awards can then be announced and the session finish on time. Please check this carefully in the convention program.

About the GSA

The Geological Society of Australia was established as a non-profit organisation in 1952 to promote, advance and support Earth sciences in Australia.

As a broadly based professional society that aims to represent all Earth Science disciplines, the GSA attracts a wide diversity of members working in a similarly broad range of industries.

Conference Managers

Please contact the team at Conference Design with any questions regarding the conference.
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