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SIOP Presentation Suggestions for Poster Sessions

Poster. Several poster sessions will be organized to give participants 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 (4’ high by 8’ wide, positioned at eye-level). 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 non-empirical submissions advancing theoretical propositions ARE permitted. Top posters will again be featured this year during an evening social hour. No audiovisual equipment or electricity will be available for Poster Sessions.

Suggestions for Effective Poster Presentations

Planning is Paramount (See Guidelines Useful for All Types of Sessions)

  • Make the poster readable from a distance of at least five feet.
    • 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 can’t read it now, imagine how difficult it will be tread 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. 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 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 in. Additional information can always be obtained in the full paper.
    • Similarly, be prepared to give brief, succinct summaries of your entire poster or major sections of the poster (e.g., Results). It’s not unusual for people to ask for quick synopses when too many people are reading the poster and there’s not enough room for everybody. Be prepared to verbally present the gist of your paper when asked.
  • Prepare professional-looking posters.
    • There are several ways you can prepare your poster for presentation at SIOP. Many presenters choose to print their posters on a regular printer. If you do so, be sure to use high-quality paper and a high-quality printer. It may also be helpful to mount the paper on pieces of cardstock to make it easier for the audience to read. Another option is to print the poster as a full all-in-one poster.
    • However you choose to prepare your poster, be sure to maximize the use of your available space. Poster sessions can become crowded and you may want to prepare your poster so that it allows the audience to physically move through the sections of your poster.
  • Try to interact with your audience.
    • 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.
    • You should anticipate being at your poster for the entire session. Show up on time, and don’t 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:
    • Bring your own adhesives or materials for hanging your poster (e.g., thumbtacks). Sometimes these are not provided, or there are not enough. You don’t want to rely on the generosity of your fellow presenters, so be sure to bring your own.
    • 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.

Be prepared to distribute your paper (See Guidelines Useful for All Types of Sessions)


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