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SIOP Presentation Suggestions for Poster Sessions

Poster. Several Poster Sessions will be organized to give people opportunities to present individual papers. Poster Sessions will be 50 minutes long. At each Poster Session, several authors simultaneously present their papers, primarily in a visual medium, with key excerpts from the papers displayed on large boards. The audience circulates among Posters, and stops to discuss papers of particular interest with the authors. Papers submitted for Poster presentation must represent completed work and be prepared according to instructions given in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 5th Edition. Please note that nonempirical submissions advancing theoretical propositions ARE permitted. No audiovisual equipment or electricity will be available for Poster Sessions.

Suggestions for Effective Poster Presentations

*     Make the Poster Readable from a Distance of at least Five Feet. 

o      Remember, poster sessions get very crowded and there may be up to 12 people trying to read a poster at a single time.  For everyone 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.

o      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.  Bullet points help organize and convey a lot more information in a shorter space.  

*     Provide Only the Key Points.

o      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 main 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.

o      Similarly, be prepared to give brief, succinct summaries of your entire poster or major sections of the poster (e.g., Results). Its not unusual for people to ask for quick synopses when too many people are reading the poster and theres not enough room for everybody. Be prepared to verbally present the gist of your paper when asked. 

*     Use an Actual Poster. 

o      In contrast to many other professional conferences, relatively few SIOP members use full-blown posters.  Rather, most use regular printer paper.  Whenever possible, posters are preferred, however, because they offer a more professional look.  A safe poster size would be 5 feet wide x 3 feet high. 

*     Try to Interact with Your Audience. 

o      One of the great elements of the 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.

o      You should anticipate being at your poster for the entire session.  Show up on time, and dont leave early.  There are a variety of other sessions that begin and end at different times; some people may only be able to attend the last 10 minutes of your poster session and will not have a chance to view your work if you depart early. 

*     Remember: 

o      Bring your own adhesives or materials for hanging poster (e.g., thumbtacks). Sometimes these are not provided, or there are not enough.  You dont want to rely on the generosity of your fellow presenters, so be sure to bring your own.

o      A picture is worth a thousand words. When possible, presenting your results in figures is generally more informative and takes up less space than a table or words.

Distributing Papers.  A good presentation entices others to read the complete paper.  In the past, distribution of papers occurred at the conference.  Many people still use this method and it is, by far, the surest way to make your research available.  Recently, however, the flexibility of e-mail and the Internet for distributing such papers has lessened the need to carry as many papers to a conference.  Nonetheless, the following guidelines will help make the process of obtaining electronic copies of your papers easier for others and yourself. 

*     Provide a Clearly-Marked Place for the E-mail/Mail Addresses of those Requesting Your Paper. 

o      In many sessions, business cards are scattered all over, making it difficult to know who requested your paper.  Provide a large envelope clearly labeled as Requests for XYZ paper.  This not only ensures that all requests stay in the same place, but also that you dont lose any business cards.  

*     Provide Your Own E-mail Address or Web Address/URL. 

o      It is difficult to correctly write down long URL or e-mail addresses, especially in a crowd of people.  You can make this process easier by having your own business cards available in sufficient quantities (usually 40 minimum). 

o      If you administer research via the Web and your business cards do not have your Web address, consider printing this address on the back of your cards, providing slips of paper with the address, or printing the address on mailing labels for others to take with them. 

*     Check for Potential Copyright Violations Before Posting Any Article to the Internet.

Different journals have different guidelines for posting material to the Internet.  Some journals consider any Web postings as a publication, and will refuse to consider the article for publication.  Others, such as the APA journals, have specific guidelines one must follow before posting to the Internet.