Speakers Guidelines

General Speaker Instructions

General Speaker Instructions

  • Market your session
    We encourage speakers to market their own sessions, whether by blogging or getting your PR people to make announcements. One of your goals should be to fill the room – if you’ve got the best session in the world but no one comes to hear it, you’re wasting your time. Successful sessions will have a catchy title and an informative description. Contact conference management if you want to update your session title or summary.
  • Presentation hardware
    Presenters are encouraged to bring their own laptops for their presentation. Each podium will have a VGA video input and 1/8” audio input. Let conference management know if you require any special hardware or room setup.
  • Arrive early and test
    Plan on arriving 10-15 minutes before your scheduled speaking time. This will give you adequate time to hook up laptops, attach lavaliere microphones, and verify that audio/video are working correctly. Let your session usher (volunteer staff) know of any A/V problems ASAP so we can get someone to address the issue.
  • Title slide
    If you are using slides, set your presentation to the title slide while waiting to begin – this serves as an extra reminder to attendees what the session is and who the speakers are.
  • Begin and end on time.
    Please begin your session on the scheduled time. Do not wait “five minutes or so” for the room to fill up. Room ushers should be closing the session room doors at the beginning of each time slot, and it is important that sessions begin and end on time. Time your session to fit within the allotted time. A small clock tucked into the podium can be useful for keeping your presentation on schedule, letting you know when you need to slow down or pick up the pace.
  • Q&A periods
    • If there is a standing audience microphone, request that those interested in asking questions come to the microphone before asking questions. It is a good idea to do this a few minutes before opening up the floor to questions, as people will often take a few minutes to formulate their questions or get their courage up. Even if there is no audience microphone, make sure the questioners stand up before asking questions.
    • If there is no audience microphone, repeat questions using your microphone (“The question was …”) so that recorded sessions have the question as well as the answer.
    • Don’t let audience members be impromptu lecturers. Some attendees want to show the rest of the group that they are just as knowledgeable as the speaker, and may resent not being a lecturer/panelist. Feel free to interrupt a questioner’s story with “In the interest of time, please make your question brief and concise,” or “What is the question you have?” Don’t let them babble on.

Mini-Lecture Instructions

Mini-Lecture Instructions

  • Session length
    Mini-lecture are 25 minutes in length, with two mini-lectures back-to-back in a 1-hour slot, and a 10 minute (or less) break between.
  • Arrive early and test
    Plan on arriving 10-15 minutes before the 1-hour slot your session is scheduled in. Make sure you communicate with the other lecturer in your time slot so you all understand the order you will be presenting and your process for swapping microphone and AV inputs. You will only have a few minutes to make the swap in order to keep from interrupting the flow of the session. Let your session usher (volunteer staff) know of any A/V problems ASAP so we can get someone to address the issue.
  • Begin and end on time
    Because of the time contraints of the mini-lecture, it is imperitive that you begin and end your session on the scheduled time. Time your session to fit within the allotted time. A small clock tucked into the podium can be useful for keeping your presentation on schedule, letting you know when you need to slow down or pick up the pace. You will need to keep your lecture a few minutes shy of 25 minutes in order to provide time to transition to the next lecturer.
  • No Q&A during Mini-Lectures
    There is not sufficient time for Q&A during mini-lectures. Inform the audience that they can address questions to you after the session (if you are willing). If you are the first presenter, do not field questions from attendees in the session room during the subsequent lecture.

Panel Moderator Instructions

Panel Moderator Instructions

  • LOGIN Panel Format
    All panels must be conducted in one of the accepted panel formats:
    • Classic panel (1 moderator and 4-5 panelists)
      Should be high on controversy with at least two clearly differing positions. The resolution of the panel (i.e. who was right?) should not be obvious at the outset. The moderator introduces the panel. Each panelist gives a 5-10 minute position statement. The moderator then poses pre-arranged questions to the panelists and mediates dynamic discussion among them.
    • Educational panel (1 moderator and 3-4 panelists)
      Less of an active debate than the successive presentation of a number of alternative positions or approaches. Each panelist has 10 to 15 minutes to present an approach or position in detail. The moderator then poses pre-arranged questions to the panel and mediates dynamic discussion among them.
    • Debate (1 moderator and 2 debaters)
      Should be two clear positions, each of which can be competently presented and defended by a single debater. The moderator introduces the debaters. Each debater gives a detailed position statement (15 to 20 minutes). The moderator then mediates questions from the audience and the debaters questioning each other.
  • A panel is not an hour-long Q&A session
    If you wish to conduct this type of interactive session, contact conference management to see if you can change your session to a roundtable.
  • Choose a good selection of panelists
    Good panelists are knowledgeable, respected, eloquent, and have an interesting opinion. If you have never heard your panelist speak before, call them to find out how articulate they are. Try to find a selection of panelists who have differing opinions – a panel of people all agreeing with each other isn’t very interesting. A good example mix is:
    • The Traditionalist – someone wedded to the ‘old way’ of doing things, better if they’ve had some success or they’ve had a recent shipped title.
    • The Trailblazer – someone already trying to do things a little differently, and having some measure of success, especially in unusual markets or genres.
    • The Visionary – a crazy observer of the industry, looking from the outside in.
    • The Cynic – Someone whose assigned job is to crush dreams and bring the funny.
  • Be clear on your role
    Your job is to be the glue that holds the parts together. This means you are not a panelist. Don’t be tempted to answer questions yourself or participate as a panelist. This is hard when you have some knowledge of the topic.
  • Prepared questions.
    Ask your panelists to tell you what they think are the most important questions about the issue. Add your own questions to this mix, and let them know what range of questions will be. Request that they not prepare detailed answers in advance or not write down what they plan to say, although notes are fine to provide details or quote specifics. Prepare more questions than you need, so you can ask questions according to the flow of the discussion, as well as preserve some spontaneity.
  • Set the stage
    As the first speaker of the session, you you set the stage by quickly giving an overview of why this panel was accepted, and what you’re going to cover. I tend to avoid the usual banter about ‘how this panel is going to be great’ or make length introductions about panelists, that usual pretty-talk is often low value.
  • Panelist introductions
    Include a sentence on why they were chosen to be on this panel in the introduction of each panelist. Edit any prepared introduction they give you to a single paragraph or two on why they are a credible resource to be discussing this topic. The audience is not interested in the entire resume of the panelist – and speaker bios are in the conference program. Introduce each panelist just before she/he speaks. This breaks up the monotony of each panelist speaking successively. Besides, if you introduce them all at once, no one will remember the salient points about them when it’s their turn to speak.
  • Coach your panelists
    You may have a long-winded panelist or someone who will read his/her comments. Review the panelist instructions (below) with your panelists and make sure they know what is expected of them. Time each panelist so one or two don’t take up the majority of time. Let them know they will be timed and when their time is up; have someone in the back hold up a sign.
  • Interactivity
    Don’t over-structure the panel with a question and answer response pattern. Allow the panelists to question, joke with, and jab at each other. Watch for body language in your panelists for non-verbal cues that they have something to say and let them contribute without having to interrupt.
  • Panel Q&A
    • Begin your Q&A period with something like the following: “In order for as many questions to be asked as possible, please direct your question to only one panelist, rather than to the whole panel.” It is tedious as an audience member to have each panelist answer a question of marginal interest to anyone but the questioner. If they don’t ask the question to a specific individual, then you ask someone who you think would be most qualified to answer.
    • Instruct the audience, “In the interest of time, please make your question brief and concise.”
  • Conclusion
    End with a summary of the information and ask the audience to thank the panelists for their contribution.

Panelist Instructions

Panelist Instructions

  • Introductions
    Provide your moderator with a suitable verbal introduction for yourself. This introduction should be fairly brief – the audience doesn’t need your complete resume. Your moderator will likely add some information to the introduction, such as why you were chosen for the panel.
  • Prepared questions
    Work with your moderator to prepare a list of appropriate questions. If any questions are off-limit for you, let your moderator know ahead of time. Work to be concise in your answers so more questions can be entertained. It is acceptable to prepare notes for your answers, but don’t read from them.
  • How to interrupt
    Work with your moderator to establish a set of subtle cues you can use to let him/her know you have something to add to another panelist’s statement, as well as some way for the moderator to acknowledge you. This can be tricky, but it is better than talking over another panelist, or losing relevancy because the topic has moved on.
  • Audience questions
    If you are asked a question you don’t have an opinion or information on, quickly pass so another panelist can answer. If you don’t have anything different from another panelist to contribute, don’t say anything.
  • Focus on the audience
    Although you will be engaging in dialog with the moderate and other panelists, keep your attention focused on the audience – avoid turning your head completely toward the moderator.

Roundtable Moderator Instructions

Roundtable Moderator Instructions

  • LOGIN Roundtable Format
    LOGIN Roundtables is an opportunity for participants to get together in an informal setting to examine issues in online games. There is no formal agenda: The participants will determine the discussion points. As moderator, your goal is to facilitate interesting and balanced discussion among all the participants.
  • Your role as moderator
    • Set expectations
      Inform everyone of the topic and process for the roundtable.
    • Reach agenda consensus
      Poll the audience to create a list of potential discussion topics and prioritize. Participants raise agenda items they wish discussed and work with facilitator to agree to the top 3-5 issues. Lead the participants in agreeing to the discussion points for agenda.
    • Guide discussion
      Engage all group members in the discussion. Challenge thinking, share ideas, and restate ideas. Get participants interacting quickly, and ensure that each participant has an equal opportunity to be heard. Be prepared to avoid repetition, handle filibusters, etc.
    • Create lists
      If the goal of the roundtable is to work towards some higher level goal (e.g. establish a standard), take notes and document ideas during the roundtable. Track critical points as they emerge.
    • Summarize and conclude discussion
      Summarize the agenda items and critical points. Ask participants to share key insights they gained, and key items they will act upon. Add any concluding remarks.
  • Roundtable games
    You can encourage useful participation during the roundtable by rewarding participants for valuable contributions. For example, each time someone contributes something useful to the discussion (such as raising an important question, or offering valuable insight), give them a playing card from a shuffled deck. At the end of the roundtable, the person with the best poker hand could win a prize.

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