The process of preparing a poster presentation for a conference can be a daunting task. Nonetheless there are many advantages to presenting your research in the form of a poster, such as its longevity (as posters can be indefinitely displayed in your department or office), and the fact that you are less likely to have to present to large audiences if you are not yet comfortable with presenting to a group. We offer some practical tips here. Ensure that you:
- Print and carry business cards with you, potentially displaying them in a plastic sleeve next to your poster (you may wish to print some of your own onto cardboard with basic information such as your name, occupation, place of study/work, and an email address, if you do not already have some) as persons at conferences are often interested in making contact in their field of interest or finding out more about your research.
- Print a small “Back in 5 minutes” notice in case you need to run off to the toilet or get a quick cup of coffee during your presentation time.
- Prepare a short 2 to 5 minute speech (highlights package) about your poster to share with interested persons.
- Have a notebook and pencil or tablet/smart phone available to jot down any ideas or constructive criticism that emerge in conversation with your reviewers/audience.
- Take prestick and pins to display and secure your poster as conference organisers often do not provide these to presenters.
- Have tipex and a black marker on hand in case you notice any errors on your poster at the last minute.
- Print your poster on canvas or material rather than on cardboard for easier transportation (although the resolution may differ for images).
- Save multiple copies of your poster and have the final draft saved as a PDF to avoid formatting changes when moving between different document types.
- Look for online inspiration (http://writing.engr.psu.edu/posters.html) when developing your poster and do not be afraid to move away from the standard layout options and colour schemes.
- Find a programme in which you are comfortable developing you poster. Microsoft PowerPoint is a user-friendly tool for developing posters.