Symposia can feature technical talks (on a particular technical theme, leaders of the future, memorial symposia, etc) or career related talks (balancing career and family, tips for career success, etc). Audiences appreciate all types of talks. In general, luncheon and dinner speakers should stick to nontechnical talks.
Confirm the symposium times and location with all speakers. Be sure they know what time theywill speak and that this fits their travel plans.
Tell the speakers what AV equipment will be available. Familiarize yourself with it before the session.
Ask symposium speakers for a biographical sketch. Consider writing introductions if you aren’t comfortable doing them from memory.
Check out the room in advance. Is everything there? If you have a panel discussion, is the room set up appropriately? Does the AV equipment project properly on the screen?
Don’t hesitant to ask someone to speak or to recommend potential speakers. Most of us love to be asked to speak! Many women are flattered that their story may be of interest to others. In fact, the stories of successful women chemists who have faced the work/life/family balance are especially educational for students and younger chemists.
If you have asked dignitaries to make opening remarks or introduce a speaker, determine if you need to write something for them. Remember that they may be asked to introduce several sessions or perform multiple functions at the meeting. A symposium organizer who provides speaking points is really appreciated!
Double check that your speakers have entered their abstracts into PACS before the deadline.
If you are planning a dinner event, consider using a different venue than the host hotel. You may have to provide transportation, but local science museums or sites of interest may entertain your visitors a give them a chance to mingle before the dinner.
- Prepare written introductions for luncheon or dinner speakers. Ask them to provide a biographical sketch (or use Google). You may be more comfortable reading the introduction than giving it “off the cuff”.
- Provide a small thank you gift for your luncheon or dinner speaker. This could be something special from your region or the host city.
- Consider who will sit at the head table for a luncheon or dinner. Will you ask any ACS dignitaries to sit there? (Presidential Succession, Members of the Board, Executive director, General Chair, etc). Most will be happy to have you ask them to sit someplace special. They enjoy unassigned seating, too, since it gives them the chance to talk with attendees they might not meet otherwise.
- Consider a printed program for your luncheon or dinner. This will list the activities as well as the speaker’s biography. It also provides a chance to thank sponsors.
- For the luncheon or dinner, work with your event coordinator to determine number of seats, meal selections, AV equipment, etc.