Tips for Paper/Poster Presentations
The oral presentation of a paper is usually limited to a 12-minute presentation of your research. Speakers should rely on handouts for all supplemental materials; however, either a 35-mm slide projector or an overhead projector for transparencies may be available during the presentation. [NOTE: A video projector for PowerPoint presentations also may be available. Check with the chair of your session for information regarding A/V equipment.]
Recognize the constraints imposed on your presentation:
- The short time of only 12 minutes (with an additional 3 minutes for questions) [NOTE: The actual time varies somewhat depending on the conference, e.g., 10 minutes for presentation, 5 minutes for questions.]
- The limits on attention and comprehension of your audience members who are listening to (not reading) many presentations each day, some of which are outside their area of expertise
- The context of the session in which people may enter and leave at any time causing distractions and a lessthan-ideal listening/learning situation
Therefore, it is recommended that in preparing your talk you:
- Decide on a limited number of the significant ideas you want your audience to code, comprehend, and remember.
- Minimize details (of procedure, data analysis, and literature review) when highlighting the main ideas you want to transmit.
- State clearly in simple, jargon-free terms what the point of the research is, what you discovered, and what you think it means—its conceptual, methodological, or practical value.
- Employ some redundancy in repeating important ideas to enhance comprehension and recall.
- Write out your presentation as a mini-lecture (with a listening audience in mind), starting with an outline that you expand into a narrative.
- Practice delivering it aloud in order to learn it well, to make its length fit in the time allocated, and to hear how it sounds.
- Get feedback both from tape-recorded replay of your delivery and from critical colleagues who listen to it.
- Do not read your paper. Speak your ideas directly to your audience, referring—if necessary only—to an outline of key points and transitions.
- Try to speak loud enough, clear enough, and with sufficient enthusiasm to hold the attention of your audience despite distractions (internal and external).
- State your final conclusions and end on time.
You should have available for distribution, copies of a printed version of your paper with the details of the research (about 25 or more) and/or a sign-up sheet on which interested people can request the paper. Be sure to indicate on the paper your identification, the conference source reference, and whether or not it may be quoted.
It is an honor to have the opportunity of being in the spotlight with an audience of peers giving you their time and attention. You have an obligation to them (and to your profession) to use that occasion wisely and well.
Poster presentations provide the opportunity for the presenter and the audience to talk with one another. A physical arrangement similar to an exhibit area is used for this interaction. The most common size for posters is 3.5 - 4 feet high by 5.5 - 6 feet wide. Check to make sure your poster adheres to the requirements of the conference at which you will be presenting. A relatively large number of posters will be displayed during each poster session. During the designated period, the audience moves through the poster displays, stopping to interact with those who are presenting research that is of special interest to them. Thus, the interaction between the presenters and the audience is likely to be more meaningful than is typically the case in paper sessions. Therefore, when constructing your poster, remember to utilize the opportunities provided by this method of presentation.
Poster presentation recommendations:
- Construct the poster to include the title, the author(s), affiliation(s), and a description of the research, highlighting the major elements that are covered in the abstract.
- Minimize detail and try to use simple, jargon-free statements.
- Remember that pictures, tables, and figures are amenable to poster display
- If you can, use color in your visuals.
- Make sure your lettering is neatly done and is large enough to be read from a distance, i.e., do not simply pin up a set of typed pages--reserve these for your handout.
- Consider using a flow chart or some other method of providing the viewer with a guide to inspecting your display.
- Don't overwhelm the viewer with excessive amounts of information; rather, construct a poster display that enhances conversation.
- Be ready to pin up and take down your poster at specified times.
- Be sure to bring thumbtacks with you.
Prepare for distribution, copies of a printed version of your paper (about 25) with the details of the research and/or a sign-up sheet on which interested people can request the paper. Be sure to indicate on the paper your identification, the conference source reference, and whether or not it may be quoted.
It is an honor to have the opportunity to present at a research conference. You have an obligation to prepare a neat, well-organized display and to be present at your display for the entire poster session period. With a little thought and creativity, you can make your presentation a very pleasing one for both you and your audience.
The guidelines on this page for delivering presentations were prepared by the Western Psychological Association to help first-time presenters get ready for the big day of presentation. These recommendations are based on the experience of colleagues, both those pleased by the privilege of listening to well-delivered presentations and those distressed by having heard too many poor ones. These guidelines do not address the quality of the idea being presented, but instead focus on what can be done in the preparation and delivery stages of a talk to enhance its audience appeal by making it more comprehensible, interesting, and memorable. It is recommended that paper presenters using a PowerPoint presentation bring their own laptop and arrive early to their session to work out technical difficulties.