Conference Presentations: Poster or Talk?
Presenting your research at a conference? Should you present a poster or a paper? Here are some pros and cons of both.
- Easy to prepare
Create a few summary sentences in PowerPoint, add some tables or figures, and you’re good to go.
- Interaction with people one-on-one
Poster presentations are usually 2 hours, which means more opportunities to have conversations with people who are interested in your work.
- Casual setting
Although you still need to dress business casual, giving a poster presentation is simply having a brief conversation with someone.
- Printing issues
Even if your school has a plotter, you’ll need to plan in advance to have your poster printed. Don’t put yourself in the situation where it’s a day before the conference, and you have no way to print your poster.
- Traveling hassles
Make sure your pretty poster doesn’t get bent in transit, especially if you’re traveling by plane.
- CV concerns
Depending upon the conference and your research area, poster presentations are sometimes viewed as less prestigious than giving a talk at a conference. It’s all relative, however.
- Looks good on CV
As I mentioned earlier, a paper presentation is sometimes viewed as more prestigious than a poster. Even if you’re presenting at a less prestigious conference, giving a talk always looks good on your CV.
- Simple format
It’s pretty easy to take your presentation with you if you’re giving a talk; just bring your usb drive. Being able to edit your slides in the hotel the night before is also a plus!
- Good practice
Giving a talk forces you to practice discussing your research in a formal format. This is good practice for teaching, research talks, and job talks.
- More prep time
In addition to creating slides in advance, you’ll need to orally practice your talk and ensure it flows well and fits within the time limits.
- Public speaking anxiety
Speaking in public is always a little nerve-racking. You’ll not only need to make it through your slides, but you’ll also need to make it through the Q&A.