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How to poster | Research poster template | Goals of a poster

If you have to put together a research poster presentation and haven't done one yet, it is way easier to start from a template.

In this post, I share a research poster presentation template using PowerPoint.

Photo by Jean-Philippe Delberghe on Unsplash

I love poster presentations.

You can get a lot of traffic and have more time to go over your research with an engaged audience than during a talk.

As opposed to the 5-10 minutes available for questions after a talk, a poster presentation allows for extended discussion.

You might be surprised by the people you meet with an engaging poster.

Posters are more relaxed than oral presentations. 

Often, the poster presentation happens during the evening slot of a conference.

There may be (better be) light refreshments, even drinks.

People are happy.

They are not stuck in a room waiting for an awful talk to be over.

When not in a line holding their drink ticket or piling snacks on a minuscule plate, people are free to roam around. 

No one is forcing them to come by your poster.

If they come to your poster, it means they are interested and it is your chance to blow their mind.

Posters can be different dimensions.

48 by 36 inches is pretty standard.

There are two main rules for making a nice poster.

  • Lots of pictures
  • Lots of white space

Everyone is tired.

No one wants to read words on a poster. So, put them very sparingly.

Put them pictures. Good pics. Great pics. 

People gravitate towards good-looking posters.

Not having enough white space is overwhelming.

It's hard to read and feels like there is way too much going on.

During the presentation

If you actually want people to come to your poster, be inviting.

Your body language should tell them they are welcome to come look at the poster and interact with you.

You can also verbalize this by simply greeting them with a hi, hello, or how are you.

Have a quick 20-30 seconds overview ready to let them know what the poster is on.

If they want to learn further, go over it in more detail.

Like with any presentation, dress up. You want to look professional. 

During your presentation, be excited about and proud of your research!

Sell it! Tell your story. Don't worry if you don't have the results that you'd have liked to have.

It doesn't have to be a finished product.

It's a poster, not a journal paper.

The main goals of a poster presentation are to:

  • have your research out there
  • start a discussion and increase enthusiasm 
  • face unexpected questions that baffle you and make you think more deeply about your work
  • learn

Making the poster

Get started with your draft sooner than the night before.

At least a couple of weeks before.

Once you have a draft, don't be too attached to it.

It probably needs a bunch of edits. 

Have people from your research group as well as people outside your field read the draft and give you comments.

You need to give any co-authors and your advisor at least a week to look it over and suggest changes.

I would make sure of their availability to do so ahead of time so you are not left hanging at the last moment unsure whether you can go ahead and print.

Don't wait to print the poster at the last minute!

Your school's library is probably the place to go for printing.

Poster printing will likely cost money. The printer might not work. You might not know where to go to print. You don't know how long it will take to print. 

At the latest, print the day before your presentation.

Link to the PowerPoint Poster template!

Share your poster experience below!

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