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Research Posters

Poster sessions in classes and at conferences are a way to visually convey research. This guide offers the basics in design, content, and printing resources.

Introduction

The tips on this page are for oral presentations or lightning talks about a poster.

For public speaking support and feedback, visit UT's Public Speaking Center.

Content

1.  Think of or research an attention grabber: a story, fact or statistic, or other interesting piece of information that will draw in the audience in a minute or less.

2.  Focus only on the 3 most important points. Introduce them at the beginning, and repeat them at the end.

3.  Have 2-3 specific points that fall within each of the three categories and a brief story or example to illustrate each point.

4.  Write out transitions between major points and practice them so the speech will flow. Example: “So far we’ve discussed [x], but on the other end of the spectrum is this important aspect, [y].”

5.  Be gender neutral. It is acceptable in formal presentations to use “they” and “them” instead of she/he, him/her.

6.  Try to incorporate tasteful humor. It shouldn’t be forced; it needs to fit with the rest of the speech and feel natural. Don’t be afraid to improvise.

7.  Have someone else read the speech or practice your presentation in front of them – so they can critique the content and delivery.

Delivery

1.  Practice and prepare. Practice in front of a mirror. Take a video or audio recording of yourself. Rehearse the presentation in your head. Don’t strive for perfection, though: too much rehearsal may make you sound stiff.

2.  Pay attention to your inflections, including which words and syllables you emphasize. This will affect the audience's interpretation and understanding.

3.  Plan how to stand, gesture, and move. Practice walking around – moving toward the audience and back toward the poster. Face the audience at all times, and look around the room at individual audience members. Be careful not to walk or pace too much.

4.  Wear comfortable professional clothing and comfortable shoes.

5.  Be early. If you are running late, you will be nervous and have less time to prepare.

6.  Take 10-15 minutes before the presentation to relax, do some deep breathing, and keep your mind off of the presentation for a bit.

7.  Be confident! Be passionate! Be energetic! Don’t expect to be perfect, but if you have practiced and you are confident, it will show.