A Guide to Presenting a Poster
Making the physical poster is only part of preparing for a poster session.
You MUST practice also. Interacting with the audience demands thinking
on your feet, applying your social skills, and drawing on short, concise
explanations without fumbling or mumbling.
2, 5, and 10-minute versions of your poster presentation.
sure you can sum up your posters key points and conclusions
in 2-3 sentences.
starting your spiel from different sections of your poster.
about which parts of your poster will be the most challenging
peoples questions and how you will answer them.
supplemental handouts and/or photocopies of publications
related to the work described in your poster. Don't substitute
a handout for a good oral explanation--the handout is a "take
away" piece for reinforcing your message.
Presenting Your Talk
people with a smile and show your enthusiasm for your
out why they are interested in your poster BEFORE you launch
into your spiel so that you are able to address their
needs and expectations.
not stand in front of your poster where you might block
peoples view. Stand to the side or turn sideways
at the side of the poster without blocking the adjacent
eye contact with people as you present your poster. Do
not read directly from your poster or from a prepared script.
Reading signals "lack of knowledge" to the audience.
hand gestures to illustrate and reinforce key concepts
and relationships. As you talk through your poster,
use a pointer or your hands to refer to particular parts
of the poster so that people can follow your talk. Do not
put your hands in your pockets or behind your back.
extra time explaining the figures and tables on your
each section of the poster before moving on to the
next section. For example, Now that Ive described
the need to XXX, I'd like to explain the process we developed
to do it.
- If people
approach your poster after you have begun your spiel, pause
to welcome them and identify where you are in the spiel, Hi,
Im in the middle of explaining the methods we used
to characterize the XXX protein.
your audiences understanding of the more complex
concepts presented in your poster by paying attention to
non-verbal cues or by asking them whether YOU have been
clear or should go into a little more detail. DO NOT ask
whether THEY understand what you've said.
For example, say, "Should I say a little more about how the algorithm
operates?" "Have I been complete enough?" or "Would
you like me to go over any of the parts again?"
DO NOT SAY Do you understand how this works? or "Do
you get this?" Such questions seem to blame the audience or seem
designed to reveal their ignorance.
your professionalism. Thank people for listening and
talking with you about your project: "Thanks for stopping
to talk with me." "Thanks for your feedback on
the XXX mechanism." Make your comment show YOU WERE
LISTENING TO THEM, not just talking at them. (Don't use
a cliché such as "thank you for your time," and
don't apologize, either). Remember that the people attending
the poster session may be future your employers or research