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Eight Steps To A Successful Poster Presentation
  1. Rules for Poster Presenters
  2. General Guidelines on Preparing Your Poster
  3. Poster Content
  4. Don't Go Overboard With Color!
  5. How Small Is To Small?
  6. Why Use Graphics?
  7. Equations
  8. You're done! What's next?

A wealth of material on creating poster presentations is available on the web. Listed below are the primary sources of material for the guidelines presented here.

Rules for Poster Presenters

  • Presenters are required to attend the poster session, and must remain with their poster to discuss their work with conference attendees.
  • Please refrain from eating during the poster session. Murphy's Law: As soon as you place a bite in your mouth, an excited viewer will want to know more about your research.
  • Don't wander from your poster; you may leave an interested viewer or judge puzzled about your poster's contents.
  • Typically, those interested will approach your poster and ask you questions; however, you may want to be a bit more proactive and approach those who may look interested in your work. However, don't take this piece of advice to extremes and tackle conference attendees who are more interested in eating and networking than looking at posters.

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    General Guidelines on Preparing Your Poster

  • Prepare your poster for a multidisciplinary audience. Some attendees may be experts in your research area, the majority will not. Remember, there will be undergraduates as well as professionals in the audience. Therefore, design your poster so that a general audience can understand your work.
  • The useable space on the 4-ft-high by 8-ft-wide display boards is slightly less than the stated dimensions. To improve readability, don't entirely cover the available space.
  • English-speaking viewers are used to reading from top to bottom and from left to right.
  • Avoid overwhelming the audience with too many numbers, words, or complicated graphs.
  • Keep your text short. Get the message to the audience as quickly as possible
  • Use caps and lowercase letters instead of all caps to improve readability.

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    Poster Content
    The arrangement of the sections of your poster should tell a 'story'. Like any good story, the poster should contain the following sections:

  • a Title page, which includes the title of the project, your name, your collaborators and their affiliation. When designing your poster, make sure the title of the poster is clearly displayed at the top of the center panel.
  • an Introduction that should include clear statements about the problem that you are trying to solve, the characteristics that you are trying to discover or the proofs that you are trying to establish. These should then lead to a statement of project goals.
  • a Theory or Methodology section that explains the basis of the technique you are using or the procedure that you have adopted in your work. You should also state and justify any assumptions, so that your results could be viewed in the proper context.
  • a Results section that illustrates the main results of the research project.
  • a Conclusion section, which lists the main findings of your research, and a Future Work section that contains your ideas about how the work could be progressed and other tests that can be applied, etc.

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    Don't Go Overboard With Color!
    Don't use too many colors. As one reference put it, you are creating a poster not decorating a room.

  • Avoid using bright garish colors like bright green , pink , orange or lilac .
  • Pastel shades convey feelings of serenity and calm while dark bright colors conjure images of conflict and disharmony.
  • Choose background and foreground color combinations that have high contrast and complement each other - black or dark blue on white or very light grey is good.

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    How Small Is To Small?
    Use 16 point or larger font size in the poster, so that it is readable from at least six feet away. Your prospective audience will not approach your poster if the topic is not clear from a "safe distance".
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    Why Use Graphics?

  • For increased audience interest. It is necessary to catch and hold audience attention before they can receive your message.
  • For increased understanding. If information is of a complex or technical nature, it may be necessary to communicate the information visually as well as verbally for the message to be understood.
  • For enhanced retention. People retain visual images far longer than the written word.
  • For increased efficiency. Studies indicate that the same message can be communicated faster by using visuals.

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    Last but not least, let's discuss equations. As applied mathematicians, we both have struggled with not overwhelming our audience with equations. Here are some tips. Equations * should be kept to a minimum
    * present only the necessary and important equations
    * should be large enough
    * should be accompanied by nomenclature to explain the significance of each variable
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    Your poster is complete, now what?
    Edit, edit, edit !

  • reduce your information to brief but concise, legible statements
  • whenever possible, reinterpret text as charts, graphs or illustrations
  • use point form it is easier to read than sentences
  • Spell check and proof text very, very carefully before printing.

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    Questions regarding the 2003 Tapia Poster Selection process should be directed to:
    Brian M. Dennis
    Poster Committee Chair
    2003 Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference
    The subject line should read: "Questions about 2003 Tapia Poster Selection".


    <      Last updated: 10/09/03 (PJW) /BODY>