In the article, I said that “Poster sessions are a great way to get feedback on your work and for you to see what other people in your field are doing.” The three main points of the article were:
- Writing and Design: The poster is a visual representation of the two-minute elevator pitch. It must summarize the work in a way that captures the attention and provides enough information for the audience to be able to get the message quickly and accurately. Understandably, many people find it difficult to condense their work into a one-pager. But, think about this: writing your poster will force you to think about what is most important about your current work and will help you focus on what matters most about your research and your message.
- The Talk: Even though the poster should be self-explanatory, as I said in the interview: “Most people who visit your poster will ask you to ‘walk them through it.’" Therefore, you should be prepared to give a mini-speech or presentation when standing in front of the poster, pointing out the key features and findings as you go along. Sometimes, you will repeat yourself as new people stop by. Other times, audience members will have specific questions or will be interested in just a particular part of the work. They may just be there to ask a question about a particular method or to compare your results with their own. Be prepared to tailor your "speech" to their needs, attention span, questions, and interests.
- Beyond the Poster: If you let the conversation end at the conference, you will have missed an opportunity to expand your network, which is one of the main benefits of presenting at a poster session. As I said in the article: “You should also plan to get contact information for the people who stop by your poster and follow up with questions or simply a thank-you note after the conference.” Nowadays, I don't let anyone who visits my posters leave without giving me their business card or at least getting their email address. After the conference, I send a quick email follow-up on any interesting points we discussed in the conversation or I just simply thank them for stopping by my poster. In fact, recently I invited a junior faculty to give a seminar in my department after I met her when she stopped by my poster at a conference.
In Chapter 4 of my book, How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper: The Step-by-Step Guide, I give tips for creating poster presentations and provide a template for how to format them.
Dr. Luz Claudio is a Tenured Professor of Preventive Medicine and the author of How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper: The Step-by-Step Guide. In the book, she teaches emerging scientists how to publish their research. Her website is DrLuzClaudio.com
Click here to read the article