Poster Presentation Tips

Goals | Graphics | Preparing and Organizing | Rehearsal and Delivery


Posters should visually guide each viewer through the basics of the study, freeing you to clarify and discuss essential elements of the work. Poster presentations facilitate the rapid communication of scientific ideas. They combine a verbal presentation with a visual aid (the poster itself). Posters are less formal than seminars and much more interactive. The opportunity to meet people and interact one-on-one is one of the major advantages of a poster session. Many times, poster sessions lead to new collaborations among colleagues.


Posters are a unique, visual medium, and you only have a few seconds to attract someone's attention. Choose your graphics and images carefully with these goals in mind:

  • Use graphics that catch and hold attention.
  • Increase understanding by communicating information visually, as well as verbally.
  • For each graphic image, ask yourself the following: 
    • Is it relevant?
    • Does it add information or merely duplicate verbal material?
    • If duplicative, is the redundancy desirable or necessary to reinforce important ideas/concepts?
    • Is the graphic clear and easy to understand? 

Preparing and Organizing

  • Review your poster to make sure your presentation covers the information you listed in the abstract.  
  • Review your poster to make sure it addresses the learner outcomes at the instructional level you indicated.
  • Design your poster to address one central question/concept.
  • State the question/concept clearly in poster, then use your discussion time to expand on issues surrounding on that central question.
  • Create a short (one to two minute) take-home message, which summarizes your key points.
  • Focus on the introduction, methods, results or results-to-date, discussion, summary, and publications. 

Rehearsal and Delivery

  • Rehearse your take-home message and key points. 
  • Allow people to review your poster for a few moments before leading them through it.
  • Make the flow of information self-explanatory.
  • Use two to three related background colors (methods, data, interpretation) to unify your poster.
  • Present your message in a precise, interesting, and unique way.
  • Use minimal text: short sentences, simple words, or bulleted information.
  • Find ways to show what was done (diagrams, schematics, etc.).
  • Illustrations should have a prominent headline containing the take-home message in a few words.
  • Clearly and accurately present the purpose and results of your study.
  • Do not leave your poster unattended and be sure to remove it at the end of the day.
  • Speak to your viewers and thank them for visiting your poster.