Concurrent Sessions

Planning and presenting concurrent sessions can be very nerve wracking. We’ve compiled this collection of suggestions to help you design and present an effective, engaging session.

  • Plan your presentation to fit into the appropriate time slot – 90-minute or 40-minute – and practice to check the timing. Remember that activities often take longer than you expect them to.
  • Arrive at least ten minutes early to survey the room, check the equipment, and get your materials in order.
  • Begin on time. Think about creative approaches to grab your audience’s attention, like a question or a quote.
  • Audience involvement is vital to a successful presentation. Throughout the presentation, challenge and engage your audience members. Include at least one activity. Be honest and respectful with your group and have fun. They will appreciate the opportunity to share with others and participate. 
  • If you are worried about keeping the discussion focused in the short time frame available, use a page on the flipchart to write down comments or questions that aren’t part of your talk. If time permits, you can come back to them. Follow up unanswered questions by email.
  • Focus your PowerPoint slides on major points. Avoid reading slides aloud to participants – your back will be to your audience, which leaves them out of the conversation. Think of PowerPoint as a visual, not as your co-presenter.
  • To be on the safe side, in preparing materials, plan for 20-30 participants.
  • Leave a few minutes at the end of your session for questions and for participants to fill out the evaluation form.
  • End on time so that presenters after you also get full time in their sessions. Your audience will also appreciate this courtesy, as they want to get to their next sessions. Note: You can ask the volunteer assigned to your room to help you to keep track of time.


Presentation rooms are equipped with:

  • a computer/laptop;
  • an LCD (data) projector;
  • a screen or white wall;
  • a slide advancer;
  • flip chart paper; and
  • a package with two pens, masking and scotch tape, two post-it note pads, two black magic markers, and one pad of lined paper.

Microsoft PowerPoint will be uploaded on all computers. Wireless web access is available in all rooms.  You are welcome to use your own laptop; if you are using a Mac, please bring along your own adapter. 

If you have any questions about developing concurrent sessions, please email and include your session number in the subject line. We’ll be happy to consult with you.