Session FAQs

Session FAQs

Requesting a Session

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Q: How do I request a session?
A: Technical and educational sessions may be requested by submitting the preliminary/final session request forms. For the form, click here.

Q: When is the preliminary approval form due?
A: The preliminary approval form must be submitted 12 months prior to the session. Remember: You can always submit it earlier than that, especially if there’s a particular day or time slot that you’re looking for. Even if you do not have all the speakers identified, it is a good idea to submit your preliminary approval form.

Q: When is the final approval form due?
A: The final approval form is due 6 months prior to the requested convention.

Q: How do I get the day/time I requested?
A: You may request the day and time you would like to hold the session on your final approval form. All sessions are scheduled according to the following criteria: date the final session request form was submitted, day and time of the sponsoring committee meeting, and the moderator's preferred day and time as outlined on the final session request form. 


Special Publications

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Q: What is the process to request an SP?
A: Submit a request for a special publication (SP) at least 18 months in advance of the convention. Click here for the information for SP editors.

Q: Who do I contact with questions about an SP?
A: Contact Barbara Coleman (+1.248.848.3724 or barbara.coleman@concrete.org) or Shannon Banchero (+1.248.848.3728 or shannon.banchero@concrete.org).


Call for Papers

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Q: Can I do a Call for Papers for my session?
A: Yes, contact Keith Tosolt (248-848-3735 or keith.tosolt@concrete.org) if you wish for it to run in Concrete International. You may also upload your Call for Papers to the Events Calendar located on the ACI website. Click here.

Q: What should my deadline be for the Call for Papers?
A: No later than 6-8 months prior to the convention.

Q: Is a Call for Papers necessary or can you just secure speakers on the topics?
A: A Call for Papers is not necessary.


Honorary Dinners/Receptions

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Q: How far in advance do you need to request an honorary dinner/reception?
A: No less than 1 year in advance.

Q: Who approves requests for honorary dinners/receptions?
A: ACI Event Services approves requests for honorary dinners/receptions.


Session Moderator Training

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Q: How often do I need to take session moderator training?
A: It is recommended that moderators take the session moderator training at least every 5 years. It is always a good idea to go through the online training 12 to 18 months prior to your session in case something new has been added to the training.

Q: Does my co-moderator need to take session moderator training?
A: It is recommended that all moderators/co-moderators take the session moderator training. 

Q: What is the benefit of having a co-moderator?
A: A co-moderator is beneficial for dividing the work load when organizing the session(s). If you are organizing multiple sessions, one person could be in charge of Part 1 and the other on Part 2. In addition, it is helpful to have a second person on site in case someone needs to track down a speaker, assist in an emergency, etc. Having a student co-moderator is a good way to introduce young professionals to ACI. Ultimately, two people make what can be a rather daunting task into what something that should be both fun and easily managed.


Speakers

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Q: What is the process to change/replace speakers and/or presentations?
A: If a speaker cancels or you need to move a speaker around in the session, please contact ACI Event Services to make the change. If you need to make a change to a presentation after the session has received final approval, please notify ACI Event Services. In some cases this change may need to be approved by the appropriate board committee that approved the session. It’s critical that you notify ACI immediately so that Event Services can reflect the appropriate change in the convention program book and make sure that the replacement speaker receives the credit he or she is due.

Q: When should I reconfirm my speakers?
A: You should request a written confirmation from each speaker prior to submitting a final session request form. After that, you or your co-moderator should be in contact with each speaker on a monthly basis as a courtesy to them in the event they need your assistance or have questions.

Q: Who should have the speakers contact information–ACI or the moderators?
A. It is crucial that both ACI and bot the moderator and co-moderator have the speakers contact information. Contact information should be confirmed by the speaker before traveling to the convention so all information is up to date in the event a speaker needs to be contacted.  

Q: What do I do if a speaker does not show up?
A: Always have a back-up plan. Emergencies do happen. Some suggestions include: ask your committee chair or one of the long-time committee members to have a "back up" presentation available–maybe an update on the state-of-the-art; or ask the other speakers to be prepared for an impromptu panel discussion, again perhaps related to the state-of-the-art. The important point is that you NEVER adjourn the session and NEVER move speakers up in the schedule. In the first case, attendees that might be interested in your session will think it’s cancelled if they see a half-empty room or if they see people milling around. In the second case, attendees will be upset that the speaker, they arranged their schedule around isn’t available because you decided to change your session schedule.

Q: My speaker has not shown up. Can I move the others up?
A: No – you absolutely must keep the same schedule, as most attendees plan their entire day around the presentations they wish to attend. If they know that Dr. Jackie Smith is presenting at 10:23 a.m., then they expect to be able to walk into the session precisely at 10:23 a.m. to see Dr. Smith begin her presentation. These attendees are sacrificing their valuable time to see these presentations. They may need that specific presentation for education units for their licensure. Please be courteous of their commitment and respect the schedule.

Q: Do speakers receive a complimentary convention registration?
A: No. However, speakers that are just coming to speak at their session and do not plan on attending any other convention events, do not need to pay the registration fee.

Q: How do you handle a speaker that runs over time?
A: Make sure that each speaker knows the mechanics of the timing. First, when there are roughly two minutes left to the presentation, give the speaker a sign from the back of the room and make sure that they’ve acknowledged your signal. Most speakers will take this cue and look for you to also give them a 60 second warning. Second, if you don’t hear them say something like "In conclusion" or "In summary" or "Let me wrap this up" before about 30 seconds are left start to walk up toward the podium. Finally, if they continue speaking time it so that you walk up to the speaker just as he or she is scheduled to finish. As you’re walking to them start applauding and reach out to shake the speakers hand. The audience will pick up on your cue and also start to applaud. The speaker will also realize that they’ve talked long enough and what could have been an awkward or embarrassing situation instead becomes a pleasant way to politely get someone to finish their presentation. 


Logistics/On-site Operations

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Q: How will my session room be set up?
A: Each session room has theater seating for around 100 people, a large screen, LCD projector, podium, riser (if the ceiling height is tall enough), podium microphone, wired lavaliere microphone, laptop computer with external mouse, and laser pointer.

The session room laptops are networked with the Speaker Ready Room. The network contains the speaker presentations. Note: The USB ports on the session room laptops are disabled so speakers will not be able to bring their presentation on a jump drive and must submit their presentation prior to the session in the Speaker Ready Room. 

Q: What if I need a special setup in the session?
A: Note the details of your setup requirements in your preliminary AND final approval forms. Also contact ACI Event Services at conventions@concrete.org to notify them of your needs at least 6 months in advance of your session.

Q: What should I do when I get on site?
A: You should locate the room your session will be held in, along with the Speaker Ready Room. You should also meet up with your speakers and co-moderators to go over any last-minute changes. Many session moderators will arrange to meet their speakers for breakfast or lunch the day before the session as a "thank you" for the speaker’s time and effort. This isn’t always possible but it’s always a great idea. For more detailed information, refer to your onsite checklist.

Q: When do speakers need to check in at the Speaker Ready Room?
A: At least 1 day prior to their session. Try to get the speaker to think of his or her registration process as two stops: first at the registration booth and second at the Speaker Ready Room. This is the last opportunity for the speakers to submit their presentations.

Q: Do you continue with the presentation if the audio visual equipment stops working?
A: Yes, all speakers should have handouts. Remember, the audio visual does not replace the presentation, it supports the presentation. The most effective ACI speakers keep audiences spellbound regardless of the number of PowerPoint slides that they might have.

Q: What do you do in an emergency?
A: Pick up any house phone and contact the operator, or ask for security. Make sure that you also notice emergency exits, fire alarms, and house phone locations BEFORE your session starts. Also make sure that you know the exact location of your room. For example, "I’m in the Tuscaloosa Room on the 3rd Floor of the Smith Convention Center". 


Printed/Published Materials

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Q: How is the Convention Program Book created?
A: It is created using an Association Management Database. The session information is only as good as the Final Session Request Form. As the session moderator, your name appears prominently so it’s important that the session information is correct.

Q: Why do I need to add all contact information for speakers and co-authors on my Final Approval Form?
A: As the Program Book is created from an Association Management Database, we cannot create your session pages without this information–name, address, affiliation, title, phone number, and e-mail are all required to be added to our system. Speakers and co-authors will not appear in the book without this information.

Q: How is the Program Book edited?
A: The Program Book is edited by ACI Event Services, then sent to our Publishing Services department for further editing. The revisions are made to our database, then all content is distributed to ACI staff, moderators, and the local chapter. Changes come back and revisions are made again. Then the book is edited once more by our in-house editorial staff.

Q: How is the website maintained?
A: The website is also a product of our database. Sessions are added into the database, then a report is written, and sessions and presentations are uploaded onto the website. Again, the website, as well as the Program Book, are only as good as the Final Session Request Form.


Handouts/Presentations

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Q: What is the deadline for submitting presentations and handouts to ACI?
A: One week prior to the convention, but they can always be submitted much earlier. You should consider getting presentations well before the deadline to lessen any potential stress on you as the moderator and the speaker. Give someone a deadline and that’s when they’ll get to it; a late deadline means they’ll get to it last minute; an early deadline means they’ll put it on the front burner. 

Q: How many copies of handouts do speakers need to provide?
A: You no longer need to provide copies of your handouts as they are available to attendees on the ACI website. You may still provide hard copies. You may make copies FREE of charge in the Speaker Ready Room. It’s also a good idea to ask your speakers to provide their e-mail addresses at the conclusion of their presentations. This gives attendees an opportunity to request a presentation once they get back to their offices.

Q: How do you handle a hostile audience member?
A: Act as a neutral party in this situation but insist and, if necessary, remind people to treat one another with courtesy and respect. Remind the audience to agree to disagree, if necessary.


Contact Information

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Lauren E. Mentz, CMP, Director, Event Services
lauren.mentz@concrete.org or 248-848-3799

Bryce V. Barker, Event Planner
bryce.barker@concrete.org or 248-848-3187

Technical Session Requests
Barbara Coleman, SP and Session Coordinator
barbara.coleman@concrete.org or 248-848-3724

Educational Session Requests
Mike Tholen, Managing Director, Professional Development
mike.tholen@concrete.org or 248-848-3717