When you present a poster at a conference for the first time, it can be a bit scary. You may be interrupted by someone in the audience, that people may ask lots of difficult questions and interrogate you about your research. Nevertheless, if you want to interact with other scientists and gain feedback, it is probably the best way to do it! Hence, don’t be afraid and read carefully our poster presentation tips.
Furthermore, the fact that other people are interested in your research is extremely motivating, so let us help you make the process less intimidating! At PosterSessionOnline, we have created a list with the 6 best tips which should help you to present your scientific, academic, medical, or any other kind of posters presentation!
You must be welcoming with your audience
This is one of the most important posters presentation tips today – remember to make everyone feel welcome. Say hello and smile to everyone who walks past and looks at you or your poster. Invite them to stay and read more and, if they seem interested, ask if they have any questions or if they would like you to talk to them about your project.
If they want you to explain anything, we strongly recommend you to point at the poster the relevant parts, so that the audience can follow your speech. Remember that you should not put your hands behind your back or in your pockets — that creates a bad impression.
If someone walks up when you are already talking to someone else, greet your new guest by making eye contact and smiling. When you finish your speech, remember to ask your audience if there is anything that they have missed and if they would like a further explanation, as well as if they have any questions.
If you notice that there is someone who is very interested in your poster, maybe you can suggest them meeting after de poster session for a drink or whatever that give you the chance to talk and explain details of your research. Probably, the most essential aspect of presenting your poster at a conference is to make the most out of every lucky chance you get.
The sales pitch
Another of the most important poster presentation tips is to bear in mind that first impressions matter. If you want to capture the attention of the audience, you should have a short summary of your research which contains vital information:
- What is your research topic?
- What have you discovered in your research?
- Why is it so important?
The aim is that the audience feels interested and this way, they will want more details. Make sure your speech is striking and powerful, as well as intriguing and consistent.
You have to create a good story
Other of our poster presentation tips is that once the audience is eager to learn more, that is the time to use your narrative and show your presentation skills. Just like every great story, your speech needs a beginning, middle, and end. It should be 10 minutes long or even less.
You are the narrator of your own story. It depends on you as a storyteller to make the content compelling and exciting or boring for your audience. Remember that it is very likely that your attendees won’t be all experts in your field.
You must practice a lot before the conference
Presenting a poster is somehow like making a performance. If you are preparing a performance, practice is always a determining factor in terms of success. After all, it is true that practice makes perfect. Recite what you will say at the conference, and practice presenting with your family and friends. When you begin to speak at the poster session, you will be pleased that you have spent time practicing your speech.
Before starting your poster presentation, you must make sure that you:
- Understand perfectly what shows every figure on the poster and make sure that you can explain them entirely, as well as knowing their full implications.
- Memorize your brief summary.
- Know all the key points of your research story without needing to resort to written notes.
- Are ready to answer any possible question with confidence.
Check the understanding of the audience
This is a very important poster presentation tip! Rather than asking people if they understand, you should ask them if you should go into more detail or if you have been clear enough. This way, you won’t make your audience feel “ignorant”. For instance, you can post questions such as “have I been clear enough?”, or “should I go into more detail about…?” That is better than “do you understand how this works?” Now, let’s see the last of our poster presentation tips!
Dealing with feedback
It is important to welcome feedback — it doesn’t matter if it is positive or negative. You must be ready for a polite discussion and not be offended or too defensive in the face of criticism.
If someone asks you a question or makes a commentary that you don’t think is appropriate, you can ask them to explain the relevance of their commentary. Maybe they have seen a new perspective or they may simply not understand the research.
Bear in mind that a negative question or commentary is not always a criticism. They could be a desire to understand why you have done something so they can fully understand and clarify the meaning of your poster.
Thank the audience for their assistance to the conference, for listening and for their feedback. Remember that those people who have been watching your poster could be potential colleagues or employers in the future.
We hope our poster presentation tips have been useful in order to prepare yourself for the next conference. However, if you have any doubt, don’t hesitate to contact us! We will be pleased to help you anytime.