Monday, January 23, 2017

What's a Poster Presentation?

A poster presentation is generally a quick, visual and verbal presentation that uses a poster as a visual aid. While the visual aid, the poster, can usually stand alone to explain the presenter's research using text and images, a short speech will help answer any additional questions a viewer may have.  

What's the Purpose of a Poster Presentation

Poster presentations allow for viewers, generally conference attendees, to gather as much information about current research in their fields as possible in a short amount of time.  This method of "quick introduction" can help spur additional research, partnerships, sponsorships, and scholarship.

How to Plan the Poster Part of a Poster Presentation

A poster should introduce the most pertinent parts of a scholar's research.  Remember, it should be able to stand alone as an explanation of a scholar's current research.  The poster should be designed with viewers in mind, viewers who will be standing 4 - 6 feet from the poster. For example, all fonts should be large enough to be easy-to-read, and images should be clearly labelled, crisp, and interesting in color or texture.  The poster should include white space, and information within the text and as part of images should be grammatically correct and placed in a logical order. Headings for each section of the poster are also helpful for viewers.

A poster should include, at minimum

  • A Descriptive Title and Contact Information
  • The Research Question or Hypothesis
  • An Explanation of Research Methods, Materials, Approaches, and Process
  • The Informative Results of the Investigation

Additional information might include an overview, summary, abstract, bibliography, a list of partners or assistants, or additional research information.

How to Plan the Presentation Part of a Poster Presentation

The speech portion of the poster presentation should be short and to the point.  The time limit for such a speech is generally between one and two minutes.  Interested parties may wish to ask additional questions about the scholar's research: Anticipating those questions and preparing articulate answers shows professionalism.

A short speech should include an attention-getter, which in this case could be asking a viewer if he or she would like to know more about the research. From there, the scholar can present his or her thesis before transitioning into each main idea presented on the poster, giving examples or pointing out evidence in an appropriate order.  The scholar may wish to reiterate the thesis in the conclusion of the speech or use an additional conclusion technique for impact. Furthermore, the speaker should enunciate and speak with an appropriate volume and tone.


A poster presentation is both a visual and audible presentation of a scholar's current research.  Both the poster and the speech must be prepared with unity, coherence, and clarity. When designing a poster presentation, a scholar must remember to be concise: Poster presentations should be pleasant and interesting for viewers.

Copyright Amy Lynn Hess. Please contact the author for permission to republish.