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Preparing Poster Presentations: Tips from a Conference

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By Barbara Gastel | Nov. 5, 2017  |

Greetings again. I hope you’ve had a good month.

I’m writing this post at an American Medical Writers Association conference. This conference has many educational sessions. Some include tips that can help authors from various fields of research.

One useful session was titled “I Have the Abstract: How Do I Make It into a Poster?” The speaker, Michelle Stofa, has edited thousands of poster presentations over the past 25 years. Here are some of her suggestions:

  • Create the poster in PowerPoint, as “just a giant slide”.
  • Try to make the poster about half text and half images.
  • Coordinate colors. For example, if adding color to a poster, perhaps use a color from a photo or logo in the poster.
  • Avoid making the poster too crowded. (“Open space is our friend.”)
  • If possible, put your institution’s logo in the upper left corner.
  • Use 72-point type for the title of the poster, 50-to-60-point type for the authors and affiliations, and about 30-point type for the main text.
  • Use a sans serif typeface, such as Helvetica or Arial.
  • Place more space above headings than below them. Make the type in the headings a little larger than that in the text.
  • If your poster has detailed images, print it on glossy paper if you can.
  • If you’re preparing an electronic (rather than printed) poster, remember that the organizers might need it several weeks before the conference.

Topics of other interesting, useful sessions included preparing podcasts, shortening abstracts effectively, and creating science videos. This conference also has been a good chance for networking. And the setting is lovely: It’s Disney World!

Until next month—

Barbara

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