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Mark E. Schmitt, PhD
Dean, College of Graduate Studies
Presentation Tips for Poster Presenters
An effective poster is self-contained and self-explanatory. The poster session offers an intimate forum for discussion, but discussion becomes difficult if the author must explain the poster to a succession of viewers. Unlike a talk, time spent at a poster presentation is determined by the viewer, not the author.
An effective poster balances figures and texts and is not a page-by-page printout of a journal paper or a slide show.
Poster Board Organization
Poster boards are 6 feet wide by 4 feet high. We suggest arranging materials in columns rather than rows - this format is easier for viewers to read. Place the most significant findings at eye level immediately below the title bar; place supporting data and/or text in the lower panels.
The top of the poster should indicate the abstract title, author(s), and affiliation(s). Use lettering at least one-inch high.
- Design figures for viewing from a distance.
- Make sure to use clear, visible graphics and large type. Colors are effective if used sparingly; use dark colors on white or pale backgrounds and light colors on dark backgrounds.
- Figures should illustrate no more than one or two major points. However, simple figures are unnecessary.
- Make clear main points, but include detail for the aficionado.
- Indicate illustration sequences with numbers or letters at least one inch high. (Omit "Fig." or "Figure" - this is unnecessary and occupies excess space).
- Each figure or table should have a heading of one or two lines in very large type stating the "take-home" message. Provide additional essential information below in a legend set in 16 point or larger type.
- Minimize narrative. Integrate text that would normally appear in the body (Results and Discussion) of a manuscript in figure legends. Concisely describe not only the content of the figure, but also the derived conclusions. Place brief details of methodology at the end of each legend.
- Use large type in short, separated paragraphs with unjustified (ragged right) margins. Numbered or bulleted lists are effective ways to convey a series of points. Do not set entire paragraphs in uppercase (all capitals) or boldface type.
- Place an introduction at the upper left and a conclusion at the lower right, both in large type. It is rarely necessary to post a copy of the abstract.
You are encouraged to put up your poster at the start of the retreat (8:00 am), and leave the poster in place until the afternoon break. You will be given your poster # during the Retreat registration. Pushpins are provided.
Presenting authors are requested to monitor traffic at their board during the entire poster presentation period, and balance time spent handling audience at their own board against the desire to visit other posters. The best strategy is to have at least two presenters available for your poster and "tag-team".