Are you about to present a poster at a research conference? Here are some tips to ensure a great poster session:
Know your audience's poster-viewing style
- People typically peruse the title posters and if it involves something that interests them, they'll stop and check it out.
- Some people want to read your poster without interruption. They may decide to ask you questions, or they may walk away without asking questions.
- Other viewers want you to explain your study and use your poster as a visual aid.
- Create your poster with all audience types in mind.
For people who want to read your poster without interruption:
- Ensure graphs and tables are labeled appropriately so that your audience knows exactly what is displayed in the figure/table without having to ask you about it.
- Make use of organization and bullet lists to avoid the reader sifting through walls of text.
- Don't try to cram every piece of minutiae into your poster. Display only the most central information. If they have questions about something, they'll ask.
For people who want you to explain your poster:
- Get to the point quick! Explain what you wanted to find (hypothesis), how you did it (method), and what you found (results).
- Use your poster: Don't just give a memorized speech, but point to the important aspects of your poster as you explain the research.
- Give a summary in 5 minutes or less. You'll need to practice this in advance!
For all types of poster-viewing styles:
- Be enthusiastic about your research to encourage active discussion.
- Give handouts that include your contact information.
- If you don't have handouts available, have a sign-up sheet so you can email people your poster later.
- Make use of networking and developing professional connections.