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Successful Poster Presentation Tips

A poster session is a presentation where materials such as maps, photographs, graphs, charts, graphics and/or tables are posted on a display board along with brief textual summaries of their work. Ideally, a well-constructed poster will be self-explanatory. Successful poster presentations are those which achieve both coverage and clarity.

Coverage: Have you provided all the obvious information? Will a casual observer walk away understanding your major findings after a quick perusal of your material? Will a more careful reader learn enough to ask informed questions? In addition to title/author and abstract, most successful posters provide brief statements of introduction, method, subjects, procedure, results, and conclusions. Ask yourself, "What would I need to know if I were viewing this material for the first time?" and then state that information clearly.

Clarity: Is the sequence of information evident? Indicate the ordering of your material with numbers, letters, or arrows when necessary. Is the content being communicated clearly? Keep it simple. Place your major points in the poster and have the non-essential, but interesting, sidelights for informal discussion. Be selective. Your final conclusions or summary should leave observers focused on a concise statement of your most important findings.

Each poster display should include a lettered sign giving the title and the name(s) of the presenter(s). This sign should be 6" in height with letters at least 2" high in a bold font. Extensive, imaginative use of captioned illustrations, photographs, graphs, or other types of visually appealing material is an extremely effective mode of communication in a poster presentation.

People attending a poster session are free to move about from poster to poster which does not allow time for people to read excessive text. Text should be limited to four or five pages of double-spaced, 16-20 point text. This will allow lettering to be read from several feet away. Do not mount materials on heavy board because these may be difficult to position on the poster board. Be sure to provide clear labels for each section of your presentation.