Jennifer started working on her poster presentation a week before the conference. She did not think much about the quality: her poster would be one in a sea of others, nobody would even look at it because it is boring. Jennifer was a second-year graduate student and thought that a poster was obligatory to enter the conference but was useless overall. That is why she scanned the last year’s templates, made changes replacing previous content with new statements and figures and that was it.
The girl was more interested in scheduling talks with other conference participants. In a week Jennifer met two scientists at the conference who started asking specific questions and were not satisfied by general answers. She did not prepare well, did not know her subject deeply and did not expect someone would be interested in it. It happened because Jennifer was not serious about this and could not prepare well.
The visitors started discussing and offering different ideas while Jennifer just stood aside and could not take part in this discussion. When she shared this experience with her friend Dan, it turned out she was not the one: he was also embarrassed about his poster presentation. Such experiences change our way of thinking, and we realize that we could do better. People who are engaged deeply into their work are more likely to get satisfying results.
If Jennifer prepared well, she would have more meaningful conversations and maybe even a job offer. Putting more time into presentations, you will quickly see the benefits. Here is how to make sure your student’s presentation successful:
Presenting a poster at the conference may seem less significant than giving a speech, but this is an opportunity you can use as a good experience. Poster sessions can gather feedback: people interact and share thoughts on the subject in a more relaxed and friendly environment. Don’t brush it off: practice it with your family and friends to feel more comfortable and be ready to answer the questions;
Your poster’s visual part may not be incredible, but content really values: include essential for understanding information, add results, methods used and conclusions. It should complement your speech so think how to divide information in the right way. Use large bold and clear figures to attract attention;
Be proud of the work done even if it is not flawless: conference participants will understand it. There is also nothing bad is not knowing something when responding to the questions: admitting it will open up a discussion;
Don’t lose hope
You may be disappointed with the results, but don’t be discouraged: you might not get a crowd of attention, but it doesn’t mean your work was not valuable.