As a session chair, it’s important to maintain schedule.

As shown in SPIE’s responsibilities of session chairs:

If you find a presenter has failed to attend:

  • Note the no show on the Session Report form
  • DO NOT move to the next paper. Attendees plan for the talks they want to hear based on the published schedule.
  • Choose one of these options:

My question is how to determine if the presenter will attend? Maybe he will appear later.

  • 4
    If the presenter has not appeared at the beginning of the session, or at the very latest at the beginning of their presentation, it may be safe to assume they have failed to attend.
    – Ian_Fin
    Nov 18, 2016 at 13:49
  • Should a session chair give the rest of time to other presenters? Or better suggestion?
    – Mike Liu
    Nov 18, 2016 at 14:12
  • 2
    It tells you what to do on the page you've linked. Read the bullet points immediately after the text you've quoted.
    – Ian_Fin
    Nov 18, 2016 at 14:14
  • Actually, @Ian_Fin, it is only safe to assume they won't attend at the end of the allotted time. I have never seen it reasoned explicitly, but this may be why the chair is admonished to "NOT move to the next paper", however disruptive that may be to the flow of the session, and to attendance of the subsequent talks. Nov 18, 2016 at 14:14
  • 3
    @user3697176 Read the sentence immediately after the one you've quoted: "Attendees plan for the talks they want to hear based on the published schedule." You're not meant to start the next talk because anybody planning to attend that talk, and not the one before, will miss the beginning.
    – Ian_Fin
    Nov 18, 2016 at 14:16

1 Answer 1


I think you are misunderstanding the instructions.

Let's say a presenter is scheduled to begin their talk at 11:00. If they are not there at 11:00, they have failed to attend, for the purposes of these instructions. The instructions go on to say what you should do in that case.

It's not asking you to predict the future, or to guess at 11:00 whether they will show up at 11:15. What happens at 11:15 is irrelevant. If they weren't there at 11:00 they missed their talk. Even if they show up later, it's too late.

  • 6
    Yes - additionally, the instructions are clearly stating that you should NOT continue with the next speaker, until it is that speaker's turn. Having been on the listener end of this, it is very frustrating to show up for a talk only to find it has already concluded because the previous speaker did not attend. The audience may not attend the entire session depending on their interests.
    – Bryan Krause
    Nov 18, 2016 at 16:52

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