Delivering a Poster Presentation

Original Editor - Amanda Ager

Top Contributors - Ewa Jaraczewska, Jess Bell and Kim Jackson  

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Being prepared, looking professional, and demonstrating professional behaviour will help to make a poster presentation successful. When delivering their message, the clinician or researcher might need to focus on individual listeners or a larger audience. Each scenario requires a different amount of detail to engage everyone attending. Practising the speech before people unfamiliar with the topic can help identify unclear or confusing elements.[1] This article will discuss the essential components of delivering a poster presentation.

Live Presentation[edit | edit source]

Targeted Audience[edit | edit source]

The key message should be accessible to everyone.

Audience type[edit | edit source]

  • A specialist audience: has a high level of knowledge within your discipline and a good understanding of unique terminology and practices used within the field. You may go into detail regarding your research without fear of being misunderstood.
  • The wider field audience: may not be familiar with the more specialised terms and practices within your area.
  • General audience or public: have little or no familiarity with the subject. The presenter must explain the most basic terms.

Preparing for delivery of the presentation[edit | edit source]

  • Prepare talks of different lengths (2 minutes, 5 minutes and 10 minutes, depending on your audience and level of engagement)
  • Practise with your supervisors and colleagues before the event
  • Be enthusiastic
  • Do not use too much scientific jargon
  • Understand precisely what all the figures on the poster show
  • Practise a few keywords or sentences
  • Know all the key points of your research without referring to written notes
  • Be prepared to answer likely questions with confidence

Day of presentation[edit | edit source]

Clothing[edit | edit source]

  • Wear comfortable but smart, professional clothing such as a traditional shirt or blouse with smart trousers or a skirt
  • Comfortable shoes

Essentials[edit | edit source]

  • Take a small bag of essential items, including:
    • phone (make sure it's on silent mode)
    • copies of your published work or printed copies of your poster
    • professional business cards with your name, email address, perhaps the title of your poster, and keywords
    • a water bottle and snacks
    • a pad of paper can be used to note someone else's details, feedback, or questions

Tour[edit | edit source]

  • Prepare a 30-second, two-minute, and five-minute tour of your poster. It should include the following:
    • the context of your problem and why it's essential (introduction)
    • the objectives and project description (method section)
    • the results
    • the meaning of the answer in terms of the larger context (discussion)
    • a take-home message

Questions[edit | edit source]

  • Ask the viewer a question:
    • it is acceptable to ask a few questions to anyone who stops to view your poster. You can get a better feel for their background and how you can make your work more accessible to them.

Feedback[edit | edit source]

  • Deal with feedback:
    • welcome feedback
    • be prepared for discussion and not be too defensive in the face of criticism
    • learn from a different perspective
    • thank the audience for listening and thank them for their feedback

Sharing the Poster After the Presentation[edit | edit source]

There are several ways the poster can be shared after the conference or the event. The following are examples of how the poster can be utilised after the original presentation:

  • as a reference in the author's publication
  • as a reference in the author's other scientific work
  • as an online publication in an open-access data repository like figshare (this gives the poster a unique digital object identifier (DOI) that can be used for citation)[2]
  • can be uploaded to websites like ResearchGate and shared with the research community[2]

Electronic Posters (E-Posters) and Online Presentations[edit | edit source]

A growing number of conferences and meetings are using electronic posters (e-posters), which are screens that display an electronic copy of your poster rather than a paper version. These can be static images laid out similarly to a paper poster or slideshows of your work, displayed like a PowerPoint presentation that rotates at the conference. They may also include videos and animations, so consider this when selecting content for your poster.[3][4]

Some organisers also choose an online component for their conference or event, where they may display the poster presentation online.

E-poster presentations provide a good learning opportunity for upcoming graduates. A recent study conducted with nursing students found that e-posters provide more learning opportunities.[5][6]

Benefits of E-posters[6][edit | edit source]

  • Wider dissemination of poster exposure through the conference or the internet
  • An innovative method of presenting research work[7]
  • Ongoing exposure of your work past the dates of the event/conference online
  • E-posters are more cost-effective (no printing costs)
  • Changes in the posters can be easily made until the last minute as per the conference requirements without bearing any extra cost. Digitalisation not only reduces costs but also protects the environment by going paperless[8]

Software and the Hard Copy[edit | edit source]

To create a poster, ideally, start and end with the same software. Some examples of the software include (but are not limited to): PowerPoint, QuarkXPress, InDesign, LaTeX, Illustrator, CorelDRAW, Inkscape, Canva etc. You must be comfortable using these programs, as you will likely do a lot of editing.[9]

Resources[edit | edit source]

  1. Newsom LC, Miller SW, Chesson M. Use of Digital vs Printed Posters for Teaching and Learning in Pharmacy Education. Am J Pharm Educ. 2021 Jun;85(6):8307.
  2. Arcila Hernández L, Chodkowski N, Treibergs K. A Guide to Implementing Inclusive and Accessible Virtual Poster Sessions. J Microbiol Biol Educ. 2022 Mar 30;23(1):e00237-21.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Miller JE. Preparing and presenting effective research posters. Health Serv Res. 2007 Feb;42(1 Pt 1):311-28.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Trietsch C. Poster Presentations: Tips and Tricks. Available from [last access 12.03.2023]
  3. Erren TC, Bourne PE. Ten simple rules for a good poster presentation. PLoS Comput Biol. 2007 May;3(5):e102.
  4. Berg J, & Hicks R. Successful design and delivery of a professional poster. J Am Assoc Nurse Pract. 2017 Aug;29(8):461-469.
  5. Ross-Hellauer T, Tennant JP, Banelytė V, Gorogh E, Luzi D, Kraker P, Pisacane L, Ruggieri R, Sifacaki E, Vignoli M. Ten simple rules for innovative dissemination of research. PLoS Comput Biol. 2020 Apr 16;16(4):e1007704.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Poster Presentations (Michigan State University). Available from [last access 02/01/2023].
  7. Naseem S, Rafi S, Qazi MA, Mangrio S, Bareach G, Naeem Z. Conventional to virtual poster presentation in scholars' day during coronavirus disease-19 lockdown: Medical students' performance and perspective. Int J Health Sci (Qassim). 2021 Nov-Dec;15(6):23-27.
  8. Making an Impact with your Poster (University of Liverpool, 2012). Available from [last access 04/03/2023]
  9. Selecting images and accessing non-copyright images. Available from Adding images [last access04/03/2023].