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A Recipe for a Good Poster Presentation

By Barbara Gastel | Oct. 9, 2016  | None  | Research skills Research communication Conferences

Greetings again. I hope you’re doing well.

In a few days I’ll facilitate a workshop on giving poster and oral presentations. This workshop will occur the day before a symposium at which some participants will give presentations. It is intended largely to help them prepare.

Although I happily agreed to facilitate this workshop, I worried about the timing: The day before the symposium, the participants should already have prepared their presentations. Thus, they’d lack time to apply suggestions from the workshop.

My solution was as follows: The month before the workshop, I sent the workshop organizer a PowerPoint presentation containing advice on poster and oral presentations. I also sent a pre-workshop assignment for registrants to complete.

The workshop organizer then sent the registrants the presentation and pre-workshop assignment. This assignment included answering questions based on the presentation, stating some main points learned, and listing any questions.

Regarding poster presentations: One piece of advice was to include relatively little text—in general, about 500 to 1,000 words. Another piece of advice was to organize the poster logically (for example: introduction, methods, results, conclusions).

In the completed assignment, one participant expressed concern that a poster following these guidelines would be little more than an abstract. The participant was correct—for a good research poster is basically an extended, illustrated abstract.

So, here’s a recipe for a good poster: Start with a good abstract. Add important details. Add visuals that help convey the message and attract viewers. Design the poster to be readable and uncrowded. Then you are likely to have a good poster!

Until the next post—

Barbara

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