Suggestions for Interactive Poster Sessions
Interactive poster sessions. An Interactive
Poster Session is a dynamic forum among presenters, a facilitator, and the
audience, intended to encourage discussion and sharing of multiple perspectives.
Each Interactive Poster Session highlights approximately four Posters with a
common theme. The first part of the session functions similarly to traditional
Poster sessions, with audience members viewing Posters and interacting with the
authors. During the second part of the session, a facilitator will lead the
audience and authors in an informal discussion of the Posters and the broader
topical area. Posters and topic areas are selected by the Program Committee (not
the Poster submitter) from the pool of Posters accepted to the conference.
Authors who do not wish their Posters to be considered for an interactive
session should indicate this in the "Special Requests" section when
the Poster is submitted. Opting out of the pool for an interactive session does
not have any impact on the likelihood of a Poster being accepted to the
Suggestions for Effective Interactive Poster Presentations
Make the Poster Readable from a Distance of Five Feet.
Remember, poster sessions get very crowded, and there may be
several people trying to read your poster at a single time.
For anyone to be able to read your work, it is very important that you
use a font large enough for this purpose. A
general rule of thumb would be to use a font size of at least 20.
However, take a page and put it on a wall, then back up about five feet.
If you cant read it now, imagine how difficult it will be to read it
in a crowded, busy room full of people.
Use Bullet Points to Maximize Information.
The temptation with posters is to cut and paste parts of the
paper, or to talk in full sentences. Unfortunately,
this is an inefficient way to convey the information.
Remember that materials must fit into the space allotted to posters (4
feet high, 8 feet wide). Bullet points help organize and convey a lot more
information in a shorter space.
Provide Only the Key Points.
Avoid the temptation to post excessive information on a poster.
Even though people interested in your poster have the opportunity to read
it for extended periods of time, it does not mean they want to.
Most people only have time to get the gist of the information: What you did, why it is important, and what it means.
Provide only the key points that readers will be most interested
inadditional information can always be obtained in the full paper.
Use an Actual Poster.
In contrast to many other professional conferences, relatively few
SIOP members use poster boards. Rather,
most use regular printer paper. Whenever
possible, poster boards are preferred, however, because they offer a more
Try to Interact with Your Audience During the 20-Minute Discussion
Period at the Beginning of the Session.
One of the great elements of any poster presentation is the
opportunity to interact with other SIOP members. Avoid the temptation to walk around the poster session or to
leave your poster for extended periods of time. Ask readers if you can clarify
anything, thank them for looking over your poster, etc. However you choose to do
it, try to involve your audience with your research.
You should anticipate being at your poster for the entire session.
Show up on time, and dont leave early.
Be sure to share copies of your paper before the conference with
those who request them. This should enhance the initial discussion and the
moderated portion of the session. It is particularly important that you share
your paper with your co-presenters and with the facilitator.
This should be done at least 2 weeks before the conference. It is
also important that you familiarize yourself with the posters of your
Plan on bringing about 30 handouts to your session.
This will greatly facilitate the interaction with the audience, and allow
them to get into more detail than would be possible without this material.
The primary role of the facilitator is to ensure increased
interaction and discussion among presenters and the audience. Note that the
interactive poster session begins with a 20 minute period in which the audience
mills about the posters and discusses them with participants. The session
then concludes with a 25-minute facilitated discussion of the papers led by the
Facilitators Should Ensure as Much as Possible That Session
Members Review Each Others Papers Before the Conference.
It will be much easier to see similarities and differences between
papers when everyone has a chance to review them beforehand. It will also be possible to reduce redundancies in the
Remind presenters that they should share a copy of their papers
with each other and with you at least 2 weeks before the conference.
In addition, the facilitator should provide some guidance to
presenters before the conference as to how the session will proceed, that is,
the structure of the session.
The facilitator should also be familiar with the posters in order
to facilitate effectively.
Facilitate the Discussion.
The 25-minute facilitated discussion period is at the heart of the
Interactive Poster Sessions, so begin this portion of the session promptly.
Begin the facilitated period by presenting a few general, brief
comments (1-2 minutes, at most) to orient the audience to the papers and how
they fit together.
Next, open up the session to questions from the audience and
presenters. Repeat each question or comment from the audience before responding
so that all can hear. Do your best to tactfully prevent one person from
dominating the discussion.
Have a set of discussion points prepared that can be used to
stimulate discussion, in the event that there are few questions generated by the
audience. For example, why were differences found between studies?
What are the implications of these studies for research in this area?
How can these studies improve practice?
Preparing these questions before the session ensures that the session
moves along smoothly.
A few minutes before the session is scheduled to
conclude, politely announce that the next question will be the last. If
necessary, politely interrupt the speaker.