How to Present a Poster in a Conference Here are some tips and tricks for you!
Posters are an interesting format to share the findings of an interesting case, case series, results of a statistical analysis following a research work. Preparing a poster involves not only creating pages or slides to be mounted in a hall, but you should ensure that the audience (including the judges) get attracted to the poster (content and visual appeal, both).
Few tips on how to present a poster -
Make sure that you provide the audience with a clear take-home message that they can grasp in the few minutes they will spend at your poster.
The title will be potential readers' first glimpse of your poster, so make it inviting and easy to read from a distance— keep the font size 40 or larger.
The content should not be “too long, dense, or detailed,” or “too theoretical, technical, or jargony.”
Even though materials and methods form an indispensable part of any presentation, one should not write too much relating to this section. [Keep in mind that the audience will spend hardly 2-3 minutes on your poster, and too much of methodological details may turn off their appetite]
Use at least 14-font size for the body of the poster text. [Remember that, the majority of your audience / judges have reached the bifocal age and all of them will read your poster while standing, hence long paragraphs in small type will not be appreciated! ]
Use a clear, white, or pastel for the background, with black or another dark color for most text, and a bright, contrasting shade to emphasize key points or to identify statistically significant results.
Put more pie-charts, bar diagrams, plots and graphs. Let them be your catch points, which will definitely attract the readers. A rhetorical question or summary of the main finding can give you some brownie points. Replace large detailed tables with charts or small, simplified tables.
Statistical findings form the backbone of any research paper. Use an approach to present statistical significance that keeps the focus on your results. A good idea is to replace the standard errors or test statistics with confidence intervals, p-values, or symbols, or use formatting such as boldface, italics, or a contrasting color to denote statistically significant findings.
An easy and effective way of making your poster look good, is trying the “W method” [who, what, when, where, why]
---- Introduction : What you are studying, Why it is important, and What will your study add to the already existing literature.
----Methods : When, Where, Who collected, and how the data was collected. Make sure you mention about the calculation of sample size, inclusion and exclusion criteria, sources of bias (and how did you address them).
----Results : you need to present What you found.
----Conclusion : go back to What you found, and try to set the stage for future research.
Prepare short answers to likely questions about various aspects of your work. Most importantly, you need to anticipate the questions beforehand, and be prepared!
Practice your poster presentation in front of a test audience acquainted with the interests and statistical proficiency of your expected viewers. A fresh set of eyes and ears is more likely to identify potential points of confusion. Ask your reviewer to identify elements that are shady, flag jargon to be paraphrased or defined, and recommend changes to improve clarity!
How to gear up for THE DAY !!
Dress well, look good, look confident and go for it.
Rehearse a two to three sentence overview of your research question, objectives and the positive findings.
Give short and concise descriptions of specific elements of the poster (background, introduction, findings and conclusion; followed by asking the viewers if they have any questions)
Do not hesitate to solicit the inputs of the viewers, on the findings of your project.
Happy researching, reading and presenting!
Beilenson J. Developing Effective Poster Presentations. Gerontology News. 2004;32(9):6–9.
Briscoe MH. Preparing Scientific llustrations: A Guide to Better Posters, Presentations, and Publications. 2. New York: Springer-Verlag; 1996.
Gundogan B, Koshy K, Kurar L, Whitehurst K. How to make an academic poster. Ann Med Surg (Lond). 2016;11:69- 71.