Scholarly Posters: Presenting the Poster

A guide to designing and presenting scholarly posters

The Exhibit: Be Prepared

Planning and making the physical poster are just the first steps in preparing for a poster session.  You must also prepare to engage your audience and discuss your research.

Here are some general tips on this last step in the process.

  •  Clothing at professional conferences is generally business casual. Check the conference website to see if this is true for your meeting and dress accordingly. Wear your nametag.
  • You will generally be given a time during which you should mount and remove your display. Respect those time frames.  
  • Bring plenty of supplies, such as pushpins, transparent tape, etc.
  • Bring multiple copies of supporting information (such as lists of references or small reprints of the poster) and business cards (also put contact info on your handouts). Put handouts, business cards, etc. on a table or in an envelope hung with the poster.
  • Consider leaving a pen and pad for comments from viewers.
  • Be present and on time for your designated poster session.
  • Stand to one side of the poster so attendees can see it.
  • Smile and make eye contact with those who pass by. Allow strollers to read the poster without interruption, and then introduce yourself and ask if they have any questions. Prepare a set of talking points or a brief talk (a few sentences) about your poster to use for engaging those who stop. Don’t spend too much time talking with any one individual.

Presentation Skills

Poster Presentation Basics   Good video that shows what to say / not say when you are with your poster “audience.”

Students talk about their work in public health practice at the 2010 Boston School of Public Health  Spring Practicum Finale. The start of the video briefly shows actual interactions with strollers at the poster session.

Ethan Kirschner of Stevens Institute of Technology talks about his poster on Inkjet Printed Interdigitated Electrodes for Flexible, Dry Sensitive Solar Cells.

Erika Cottrell, Ph.D., M.P.P., won the best student poster at the 2011 Academy Health Annual Research Meeting.

Cain Project  A guide to presenting a Poster that offers tips on interacting with the audience.