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Presentation Tips


Where appropriate, it is helpful to answer these simple questions early in the presentation:

  • What did you do?
  • Why did you do it?
  • Where did you do it?
  • How did you do it?
  • What did you find?

Remember, the nature of your research and your motivation for doing it may not be clear to your audience, and if it is not they may not be too interested in the rest. Also remember that most of the audience will not be knowledgeable in your field, so avoid jargon, acronyms, and the like. If you must use technical terms, define them.


Poster presentations are designed to convey information graphically through the use of illustrations, photographs, graphs, tables, and charts. Text should be minimized for maximum impact on your audience, i.e. do not simply enlarge written material and "post it"! Although sometimes necessary, virtually no one will read lengthy sections of formal text. Consider outlining or emboldening the main elements. A person casually "reading" your poster should be able to identify the salient points of your research without reading too intently. Omit the details of experimental procedures, research methodologies, data analyses, and so forth that require complicated and lengthy explanations. These details can be relegated to verbal discussions with those interested.

Your poster should be logically organized with the appropriate sections (e.g., introduction, methods, results...) clearly distinguished. Design your poster to “flow”; that is, the reader should know where it begins, and how to proceed to the end in the correct order. Numbers on different panels or arrows are but two ways to guide your audience. When present, the author might ask to take the reader through the presentation.

Constructing an Effective Poster

Keith Brugger’s Tips »
Jeff Ratcliff-Crain’s Tips »