How to Prepare for a Scientific Poster Presentation
The purpose of holding poster sessions at professional meetings is to provide a time to share information with the research community in a conversational manner. If you have never attended a scientific meeting before, spend a few minutes looking up conferences in your research area and explore the schedule. If your research is ready for presenting at a conference, talk with your mentor and consider applying for funding through an URSA Travel Grant!
Many times scientists will present preliminary data or pilot projects during poster sessions. Discussing your research one-on-one can build collaborations and help you recognize gaps in your experimental design. Poster sessions are a great place to receive feedback and meet others interested in your work. Graduate students often go to conferences as a way to make contacts that will help them transition to the next step in their research careers.
URSA Scholars Week is an opportunity for you to showcase your work and develop your scientific communication skills. The sessions take place in the Baylor Sciences Building. During the poster session you may talk to faculty or students, both of which can help you learn to share your knowledge in a clear, concise, and correct manner. You are not participating to be "judged", but to learn and grow from the experience. We hope this helps you transition from a ‘student researcher’ to a ‘scientist’!
Below are a few ideas for you to consider when presenting your poster.
- Budget money and time for poster production.
- It is difficult to say how many people will come to your poster. Be sure to invite your friends, families, professors, lab team, and so on.
- Practice, practice, practice!
- Most often, viewers will ask you to tell them what you did. Be prepared to give a 1-2 minute summary (elevator pitch) that anyone outside of your field can understand. Surveys show it’s the first 10 seconds that matter most! Do not use notes!
- Be welcoming and engaging!
- You might start with the overall results, which often stimulates questions.
- You might say- Would you like me to walk you through my poster on ____? (Fill in with the most interesting fact from your research.)
- Be a story-teller!
- Expect to be interrupted with questions, but if you don’t get any, ask if there is anything that was not explained clearly. Ask for feedback or questions.
- Embrace the challenge!
- You should be able to explain the entire poster in less than 10 minutes.
- Dress for the occasion.
How to Design a poster
Work with your mentor to make a visually appealing poster appropriate for your discipline. There are many sites that provide templates for PowerPoint posters. Posters for Scholars week should be 48”x36” or 48"X48".
A few resources: