What is a poster session?
A poster session is an opportunity for you to share your research in a creative, visual way.
Presenters will make a poster (usually from a single PowerPoint slide) in order to demonstrate the main points of research in a clear and concise manner.
Check to make sure you understand the set up arrangements. Most of the time, each scholar will be given an easel, a cardboard support or corkboard (often with 48" width X 36" height) in order to support the poster. You may be responsible to bring your own push pins or tape. If you are provided with a small table, you can bring handouts or a laptop- but there may not be electrical outlets or wifi available. Some conferences may provide a chair, but it can look sloppy if you are slouched in a chair when people are looking at your research.
Colleagues and peers will move informally between the posters while presenters typically give a brief (1-2 minute) talk about their research and answer questions. If people are reading your poster, you can say "Please let me know if you have any questions" to indicate that it is your poster.
Poster sessions will usually be scheduled for 1-1.5 hours, but may vary with each conference.
Look like a professional! Participants usually will be dressed in business/professional attire.
Using Power Point to Create Your Poster
The second tab in this guide will give you the steps to create your poster using Power Point. If you haven't used power point before, there are many guides on the internet that can help you with the basic functions of adding text or images.
The main difference between creating a slide show and a poster is:
1. You are creating a single slide, and you must change the size of it BEFORE ADDING CONTENT. If you create your poster and then resize it, the images and proportions will look stretched, blurry or unreadable.
2. When you are done with the poster, you will need to save it as either a PDF or JPG. Check with your instructor, conference coordinator, or print shop to see what they prefer for format. If you send it as .ppt (the default format for slide shows), your poster could accidentally be edited and not turn out the way you expect.
Preparing your poster
Remember, there can be three parts to your poster session:
- Your poster
- An optional handout
All three components should complement one another, not repeat each other.It's nice to know ahead of time if you will have a small table for your handouts and/or business cards. You may not want to hold anything in case some one would like to shake your hand.
Your poster should be an outline of your research with interesting commentary about what you learned along the way.
Here is the most complete guide we could find: Designing Conference Posters, created by Colin Purrington at Swarthmore College.
An example of a poster made in power point for a campus research event:
A poker themed poster for an academic national conference (note: this poster is 8ft long, your poster will probably be half this size)
Often, presenters will bring handouts to pass out to attendees.
Here are some best practices for handouts:
Your handout should have two sides. The first side of the paper should include a picture of your poster (this can be in black and white or color). The second side of the handout should include your cited references, further information about your topic and your contact information.
Be sure your contact information is on your poster as well.