113th Annual Conference Participant Guidelines

General Information

These guidelines are for presenters, chairs, and discussants. You can find all of the sessions in which you are participating by looking up your name here. Full information about the conference can be found at the conference webpage, where you can register, look at the detailed program, and find lots of additional helpful information.

All sessions will take place via Zoom.  In order to make sure that presenters, chairs and discussants are comfortable with how Zoom screen share, controls and functionality works, we are holding four training sessions for you to test drive the technology.  If you do not have a lot of experience with Zoom, we highly recommend that you attend one of these sessions.  The Zoom link and passwords were emailed to you earlier, but it you need them again, please email us at nta@ntanet.org.

  • October 30, 2020, 3:00-3:45PM (EST)
  • November 2, 2020, 10:00-10:45AM (EST)
  • November 4, 2020, 2:00-2:45PM (EST)
  • November 9, 2020, 1:00-1:45PM (EST)

To ensure there is sufficient time for audience feedback and discussion, presentations should last no longer than 13 minutes in sessions with four presenters, and discussants should have 10 minutes each (assuming two discussants). In sessions with three presentations, each paper should take at most 19 minutes and the discussant(s) will have 18 total minutes across the three papers. Below are examples of well-timed sessions; these sample sessions run from 1:45 – 3:15 pm and assume perfect transition from one presenter to the next. Of course, we expect there will be some slippage of time between presentations but want to include at least 10 to 15 minutes of audience discussion.

Example Session Formats

4-Paper Session

  • 1:45 – 1:50 – Chair introduces the session topic
  • 1:50 – 2:03 – First paper presentation
  • 2:03 – 2:16 – Second paper presentation
  • 2:16 – 2:29 – Discussant comments on papers 1 and 2
  • 2:29 – 2:42 – Third paper presentation
  • 2:42 – 2:55 – Fourth paper presentation
  • 2:55 – 3:05 – Discussant comments on papers 3 and 4
  • 3:05 – 3:15 – Audience Discussion

3-Paper Session

  • 1:45 – 1:50 – Chair introduces the session topic
  • 1:50 – 2:09 – First paper presentation
  • 2:09 – 2:15 – Discussant comments on 1st paper
  • 2:15 – 2:34 – Second paper presentation
  • 2:34 – 2:40 – Discussant comments on 2nd paper
  • 2:40 – 2:59 – Third paper presentation
  • 2:59 – 3:05 – Discussant comments on 3rd paper
  • 3:05 – 3:15 – Audience Discussion

Paper presentations will proceed in the order shown on the detailed program. Session chairs should let the NTA Office know by email (nta@ntanet.org) if they want to change the order so that the program can be updated.

Discussants and chairs should receive papers no later than two weeks prior to the conference. This will allow for adequate time for participants to read the session papers and come up with constructive comments. Paper presenters can upload their papers to the conference program and/or send papers to their discussants via email.

If you have any questions, please contact April Davis, nta@ntanet.org.

Guidelines for Presenters

You can find information on the participants in each session from the online program. Please reach out to your chair and discussant and let them know when you upload your paper. If you cannot send your paper within two weeks of the conference, please contact the chair and your discussant and let them know when they should expect your paper. Sending papers to discussants at the last minute puts them in a very difficult position and degrades the quality of the session. It is preferable to upload your paper to the conference website. However, if your paper is not ready to be posted publicly, you can share it with the discussant and chair (and preferably the other session participants) privately.

Presenters are free to structure their own presentations within the time allotted. Because time is short, we have several recommendations that will help make for a more engaging and effective presentation:

  • Begin with a short motivation of the topic and a clear presentation of the central question addressed.
  • In such a short time, one cannot hope to do a full literature review. Instead, provide the main contribution(s) of the research that highlights to the audience what the innovation is.
  • Details of the data and estimation strategy (for empirical papers) or the theoretical model (for theoretical papers) can be distracting and time-consuming in a short talk. It is more effective to provide an overview of the approach taken with an emphasis on the main assumptions.
  • Be selective in the results you present. An effective short talk emphasizes one or two core results that the audience should come away with. Those who are interested can read the paper for more details.
  • Tables and figures should be clear and legible. Do not simply cut and paste tables/figures from the paper in a way that makes them hard to read for the audience. Results the audience can see clearly will have the maximum impact.
  • Cramming a lot of information into a small number of slides is distracting. The goal is to convey the main points to the audience so that they know what you did, how you did it and what you found.

Guidelines for Chairs

The principal challenge for a chair is to enforce time allotments. A presenter that runs over her/his allotted time is using time that belongs to another presenter or to the audience. The Program Committee asks that chairs try to do the following:

  • Coordinate with the discussants about who will discuss each paper. You can reorder the papers in the session if it works better for the discussants or for the overall flow of the session. Please let us know if you plan to reorder the session so we can update the program.
  • Send an email to all session participants (presenters and discussants) no less than two weeks prior to the session to encourage timely distribution of the session papers and to ensure presenters and discussants know who will discuss each paper. In this email, it is helpful to go over time allotments for presenters and discussants.
  • Read the papers in the session before the conference to facilitate and/or stimulate a discussion at the end of the session. Most sessions will naturally have a lively discussion but be prepared to initiate the question period if the audience is not engaged.
  • Monitor the clock! Give presenters 5, 2, and 1-minute warnings. Discuss with the session participants prior to the session, if they would prefer a verbal time warning or to have a sign held up to enforce time limits.
  • Do not ask presenters to respond to the discussant(s) comments. Instead, move quickly to an open discussion that involves the audience.
  • Try to ensure that questions and statements from the audience are short and to the point and that people behave in a professional, respectful, and inclusive manner.

Guidelines for Discussants

It is the job of the session chair to be in contact with you to decide on how to split up discussant assignments across papers. If the presenter(s) have not uploaded their paper(s) or sent them to you privately by the paper submission deadline, please let the session chair know. Presenters should not be sending you papers at the last minute. Below are several recommendations for effective discussant comments:

  • When discussing multiple papers, it can be helpful to make integrated comments about the papers as a whole.
  • A key role of the discussant is to help provide additional context for the importance of the paper and its contribution.
  • Discussant remarks about each paper should deal with the major issues that enhance or undermine the paper’s contributions, reserving minor issues for direct communication with the authors.
  • While discussant comments often are critical, please try to be professional and constructive. The best discussant comments are those that make the paper better.
  • Discussants are encouraged to help shape the audience participation in the session by identifying key points worthy of further analysis and discussion.

Zoom Guidelines

  • Please login 15 minutes before the actual meeting start time
  • Please login to session using the Zoom client desktop (The Zoom app) or your internet web browser. Login information will be sent the week of the conference.
  • Make sure you are in a space where you can control noise and interruptions. You can connect to the audio by phone or using a headset connected to your computer.
  • Have your PowerPoint presentation open on your desktop before the meeting begins for easy transitions between each presentation
  • Please mute yourself when you are not presenting
  • The NTA host and session chair will start the meeting
  • The session will be a meeting, the audience will be visible during your presentation

Graduate Student Poster Session Guidelines

The Graduate Student Research Forum will take place on Friday, November 20th from 5:00 to 6:00 pm (EST). To maximize interaction with conference participants, the poster session has been scheduled during the Friday evening reception.

Poster Guidelines
Posters will be presented virtually on Zoom.  Each poster will be grouped by subject in one Zoom room.  Poster presenters will share a single graphic, (not multiple PowerPoint slides) of their actual poster during their presentation. Each presenter will have 4 to 5 minutes to share their work. After each presenter has shared his/her work, there will be a 10-minute Q&A session at the end for attendees to ask questions. We will email all poster presenters their assigned time as we get closer to the conference.