Chairing Conference Sessions and Panel Debates

Anything I’ve ever done that ultimately was worthwhile—initially scared me to death.

—Betty Bender, president of the U.S. Library Administration and Management Association (LAMA) from 1986 to 1989

The prospect of chairing a conference session or a panel debate at a conference might appear more daunting than a roundtable, not least because there will be a live audience in front of you and often a panel of high-powered experts to manage. Again, it can be made much less stressful and scary through applying the five rules of proper preparation.

1. Know your subject

A thorough knowledge of the topics likely to be discussed is essential if you are to handle the participants and the questions ...

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