Recommended Guidelines for Conference Participants
Panel Chairs: Please introduce all the panelists
on your panel. You can make introductions all at once, at the beginning,
or you can introduce panelists one-at-a
time before each presenter reads his or her paper or makes their
- May I suggest you try to be generous but brief in your introductory
remarks. While our organization has only eloquent speakers, remember most
of those in the audience are there to hear the presenters.
- Those who do not (most) have a discussant may choose (at
the end) to make a few concise remarks expounding on the panel theme and/or
the significance of the papers. I know you probably know this but remember
you are not the discussant so be kind and succinct.
Panel Timing: All panels are one (1) hour
and 30 minutes long. Please keep a tight rein on the length of the presentations.
- Panels with two (2) papers and no discussant should allow
25 minutes per paper; three (3) with no discussant 22 minutes; and four
(4) with no discussant 18 minutes.
- If you have two (2) papers and a discussant keep papers
to 22 minutes or less; three (3) papers and a discussant 20 minutes or less;
and four (4) papers and a discussant 16 minutes or less. The discussant
should take only 10 minutes on all panels.
- I know most people know this, but attempt to be polite yet
firm when enforcing time limits.
- May I suggest passing notes to presenters reminding them
of the time remaining beginning with about five (5) minutes left.
- Try to have about ten (10) minutes at the end for questions
and answers (Q&A).
- Limit the number, and control the nature, of the questions
and/or remarks using your best common sense.
- Contact each panel member well before the conference to
make sure he or she sends you his or her resume and paper. Set your deadline
two (2) weeks before the conference. E-mail addresses for all participants
will be listed at the end of the program and on SEC/AAS web site to facilitate
Moderators for Roundtables: Please follow
the same general guidelines as the panel chairs even though some specific
procedures must be different due to the nature of the setting and purpose
of the roundtable.
- I suggest you introduce all roundtable participants at the
- Have each presenter keep his or her opening remarks to 5 minutes.
After all, these are not complete papers rather remarks designed to stimulate
an exchange of ideas.
- Try to balance the exchange so that no one person monopolizes
- Be sure the audience participates as much as it seems to
Panel Presenters: Again, the vast majority
of you are experienced scholars so try to remember that common courtesy
and professional etiquette demand that all those who are presenting papers
stick to their assigned time limits?
- Time Limits: Let me repeat these limits: those on two (2)
paper panels should take no more than 25 minutes; three (3) paper panels
no more than 22 minutes; and four (4) paper panels no more than 18 minutes.
Two paper panels with a discussant should limit papers to 22 minutes or
less; three (3) papers with a discussant 20 minutes or less; and four (4)
papers with a discussant 16 minutes or less.
- Pre-Conference Etiquette: It is also important to provide
your FINAL paper to both the chair and discussant at least two (2) weeks
before your panel date. To this end, your deadline for sending out these
items should be January 5, 2003.
- Frankly, if you want a fair reading of your paper you should
send it to the discussant as soon as possible.
- Of equal importance is your responsibility to send the chair
a one (1) or two (2) paragraph resume. PLEASE no 20-page vitae. That may
impress the tenure committee, but in this case it forces the chair to decide
what your most important achievements were. It would seem you would want
to do that.
- Send a copy of your paper to the chair so he or she can
follow along as you present and so he or she can give it to the program
chair for inclusion in the SEC/AAS annual proceedings.
Roundtable Presenters: Please follow the
same general guidelines as those presenting papers on panels–EXCEPT: keep
in mind you are NOT presenting a complete paper. As such, limit your opening
remarks to 5 minutes, or less if you have three (3) or more presenters.
- Your job is to lay the groundwork for the exchange of
ideas among other roundtable members and the audience.
- You should also send the moderator a brief resume. The
moderator may want a copy of your remarks although that is generally not
Discussants: Try to follow the general guidelines
laid out above. As the vast majority of you already know, the discussant’s
job is to find a common thread and link the papers into a general thematic
- While some organizations may allow biting criticism and
commentary, SEC/AAS encourages professional respect for, and collegial
behavior toward, all our fellow conference attendees.
- While pointing out questionable scholarship might be necessary,
keep in mind that it is better to “suggest” or “recommend” such things
as “additional research sources.” Indeed, providing alternative viewpoints
is what scholarship is all about, not administering personal attacks and/or
participating in political diatribes. Such things are rude and not what
SEC/AAS is all about!
- Discussants should remember their roles are secondary to
the presenters’ and that they should limit their remarks to 10 minutes or
less. In short, make your point and sit down.
- As a matter of suggestion, one excellent technique is to
suggest a panel theme, explain how each paper relates to that theme and end
by asking each panelist a question that will initiate the Q&A portion
of the panel.
- You too should send a brief resume to your panel chair so
he or she can introduce you.
Audience: While it may not seem so, members
of the audience have a responsibility too! Again courtesy and good manners
should be your guiding principles.
- Please do not interrupt the chair, presenters, or discussants
while they are speaking. There will be time at the end to ask questions
or make comments.
- When you ask questions or make remarks, make them brief
and to the point. Don’t ramble on. Remember there are others who wish
to ask questions too. We all remember the guy who asks four straight questions
and makes a three-minute statement using up all the Q&A time. And, then
the panelist’s first remark when this questioner ends is, “I can’t remember
the question.” Let’s don’t do that. I am sure none of us will.
- Make your question relevant! It is annoying for someone
to ask a question just to hear him or herself talk or repeat a previous question
because he or she was chatting with the guy next to him/her and not paying
- Lastly, real colleagues support each other by attending
panels not sightseeing or hanging around the registration desk. You expect
people to come to your panel and you should attend theirs. Besides, if
you go to a panel about something you are not familiar with you might actually
learn something new. Isn’t that what conferences and scholarship are all
Again, I know the majority of you are familiar with these procedures,
but it never hurts to be reminded in order to assure a smoothly run meeting.
I know we are all looking forward to a great conference and a deeply enriching
experience. Remember that SEC/AAS exists to bring people from all over
the world and from a myriad of disciplines together to exchange ideas in
an effort to find consensus. We do that so people all over this planet can
have a richer, fuller, longer and more peaceful existence. Indeed, the magnificence
of humanity is in its infinite diversity and how that diversity can be blended
into a magnificent tapestry for progress and peace. In short, not everyone
does things the same way so try to be patient and understanding of language
and cultural differences as well as professional and disciplinary uniqueness.
Thanks for your participation and support! I look forward to seeing everyone
in Jekyll Island!
Proposed by Bill Head
42nd Annual Meeting
Jekyll Island, GA
January 17-19, 2003