Guidelines for WHA Panelists, Chairs, and Discussants
For Panel Organizers:
- It is your responsibility to make sure that a full panel proposal has been sent in, on time, to the WHA.
- If your proposal is accepted, it is your responsibility to ensure that the chair(s) of your panel(s) know the contact addresses of all panelists. This normally means their e-mail addresses.
- Should a panelist have to withdraw, you should, in consultation with the WHA Program Committee, make every effort to find a replacement.
- If a last-minute replacement has to register for the conference after the 1 May cut-off date for the early registration discount, the WHA will charge only the early-registration fee and not impose any late-registration surcharge.
- Aside from the exception noted above, anyone whose paper has been accepted must register and pay the conference fee before 1 May. Otherwise, that person will be dropped from the program. It is your responsibility to remind your panelists of this cut-off date. Given human frailties, in some cases multiple reminders are needed.
- Be sure to send the chair of the panel copies of the brief CVs of each panelist.
- All conferees must register for the conference and pay the appropriate fee. This includes WHA officers and past officers.
- The only exceptions are the keynote speakers and World Scholar Travel Award recipients.
Please understand that you play a key role, and much of the panel's success depends on you.
- It is your responsibility to contact the panelists well ahead of time—at least 30 days in advance of the conference—in accordance with being asked to chair a panel, to remind them of their responsibilities and panel procedures. (See below).
- If there is no panel organizer the WHA will contact you with the addresses of your panelists
- Be sure to secure from the panel organizer, or the Program Committee, materials submitted by each panelist including his/her CV.
- Be in communication with your panelists. Each presenter will have only 20 minutes (for a session of 3 papers) or 15 minutes (in those rare cases of sessions with 4 papers). As chair it is your responsibility to keep track of time for each panelist, and to not allow the session to run over (this may mean cutting off a panelist before he/she is done.
- If your session has a discussant, make sure the panelists have submitted their papers to this person at least 20 days in advance. Discussants should feel prepared to adequately comment on all of the presentations (even if presenters choose to present without a script).
- For roundtables panelists need no more than 10 minutes for each opening statement, and 7 or 8 minutes is optimum. If there are more than 5 panelists, you will have to impose a less generous maximum amount of time in order to allow for sufficient discussion. See below under "Round Table Panelists."
- Arrive at the assigned room at least ten minutes before the scheduled starting time to make sure that all necessary A/V equipment is in full operating order and that there is water for the panelists. If you do not know one or more of the panelists, introduce yourself before the session begins.
- Begin on time! Do not wait for slow-pokes.
- It is always good to take notes and be prepared to offer contextual thoughts or questions when the panelists are done. This will encourage a quite audience and give valuable feedback to each panelist.
- Briefly introduce each panelist. The audience does not need to know her/his life story.
- Audience involvement is a crucial part of these sessions, and sufficient time must be allowed for discussion, but allow all three papers to be read and full official comments delivered before discussion begins.
- Whether it is a paper panel or a roundtable, do not allow any single member of the audience or the panel to monopolize discussion, and encourage a balance in the discussion so that at least one issue raised by each paper or panelist is addressed.
- End on time and encourage further informal discussion, as time and circumstances allow.
- At all times insist on collegiality and a tone of respect.
Presenters of Papers:
No presentation can exceed 20 minutes, and official commentators (discussants) must receive the paper or a suitable substitute in a timely manner (20 days in advance, keeping him/her aware of any substantive changes).
- Be sure that your paper can be presented within the allotted time. Each presenter will have only 20 minutes (for a session of 3 papers) or 15 minutes (in those rare cases of sessions with 4 papers). If your paper runs longer, you will run the risk of being cut off, without finishing, and may usurp another panelist’s time. Please be considerate.
- Some thoughts on well presented papers:
- Present your thesis, your main arguments, and a few salient details in the hope that you can excite within your audience a desire to discuss this issue with you in greater detail beyond the confines of the session
- Rehearse your paper before an audience—preferably an audience of colleagues. This will allow you to time your paper, to test the rhythms and tone of your presentation, to gauge audience receptivity, to discover possible flaws in your arguments, to anticipate other potential problems, and to experience a bit of feedback from this rehearsal audience.
- The spoken word is not the written word. Avoid overly complex sentences, in which you and your audience can find yourselves lost in a maze of verbiage. Write simply and clearly.
- Try to avoid a monotone.
- Make eye contact with your audience and engage them.
- Do not rush through your presentation in a blur of words.
- If at all appropriate and relevant, bring handouts for the audience. About 35 copies are normally more than sufficient.
8) If you are using power point or any other A/V device arrive at the room at least 10 minutes in advance in order to make sure that everything is in working order. Many persons who use power point bring not only a flash stick but also their own laptop with the file on its hard drive—just as back up. Whether you are a PC or Mac user, it is a good idea to bring your own cables.
- Keep your comments to a total of 10 minutes.
- Remember that this is not an opportunity to show what you know; it is an opportunity to offer constructive criticism and to raise provocative questions.
Round Table Panelists:
- If the round table has 5 or fewer panelists, keep your opening statement to 10 minutes or less. If there are more than five panelists, the chair will divide 45 minutes equally among them for opening statements.
- Do not monopolize the discussion. Collegiality demands that we never interrupt anyone and that we listen, as well as talk.