Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Giving a poster presentation for the first time

As I wrote in a previous post that I gave a poster presentation at a conference recently, I will be explaining more here on what I learned from giving a poster presentation, and what I can improve next time.

Lessons learned from giving a poster presentation:

1. More personal interaction is possible

A poster presentation allows you to interact directly with your audience. In my case, I had mostly one-on-one interaction with an interested person (or someone I could convince to come over and have a look at my poster). In this way, I could learn from the experience of practicing engineers on slab bridges.

2. It's sometimes hard to bring people to your poster

As there were technical sessions at the same time as the poster session, most people were passing through the poster space on their way towards the exhibition, the coffee or a technical session. At moments, I experiences it as rather awkward to stare at / start talking to people rushing by to go somewhere else. It felt as if I didn't really know how to "sell my product" and get the attention to start a conversation.

3. Figures work

I had 8 figures on my poster, and I've used these extensively to point at and explain ideas while I was talking to people. I didn't refer much to the text on my poster, but I do think the text mattered for the time I was not with my poster to explain it, and for the print of the poster in the proceedings.

Points of improvement:

1. Have material available

I brought my poster, but not much more than that. I did pin some business cards to my board as well, but I regret not printing handouts of the poster or one of my recent papers as additional information. Moreover, I could have added a QR code to my poster to provide more information.

2. Overall layout

I tried a layout based on a flowchart approach, to see how I went from the problem of the existing bridges, by means of the experiments and a database from the literature towards the analysis from statistics and experiments, resulting in recommendations and theoretical knowledge on slabs. I still think I could make this logic more visually appealing by taking this approach one step further - but I don't know exactly how. Practice makes perfect?


  1. thank you - very useful

  2. Thank you!. i'm in the brink of presenting my first poster presentation and your thoughts make my preparation easier.

  3. Thanks! Glad to read you found this post to be useful

  4. Very interesting post. Really I enjoy while reading " How we represent a poster presentation first time?"