How to Make a Poster Presentation
Poster presentations combine written text with graphs, figures and illustrations in an attention-drawing, eye-appealing mosaic that facilitates people’s understanding of the depicted ideas, theories or phenomena. In many classrooms, laboratories or course rooms, poster presentations adorn the walls, often presenting key theories about the specific activities the room has been designated for. When learning how to make a poster presentation, the student often has the poster presentations in his or her course room as models; however, there is more theory behind making a good poster presentation, as this article will further explain in the following paragraphs.
Choosing a Model
One of the first steps you have to take when learning how to make a poster presentation is to decide on an optimal data arrangement, and estimate how much time you have for making your poster. As in every academic endeavour, the level of experience affects the time needed to fulfil the task, therefore first make sure that you will be able to finish the job in time.
There are many ways of customising the appearance of the poster. A good piece of advice would be to sketch several different arrangements and see which one caters to the needs imposed by your field of study. Hard sciences like mathematics might require less text and more formulas, whereas natural sciences may demand more text explanations.
Before you decide on the general aspect of your poster presentation, consider the following guidelines that ensure a proper flow of ideas: a) the title will be placed at the very top; b) the upper-left hand corner should contain a brief introduction to the subject; c) the conclusion will be placed at the lower-right hand corner; d) the methods and results will be placed between the introduction and conclusion.
Knowing how to make a poster presentation requires the following of several guidelines regarding the content of your work. You need to make sure that every piece of information is properly depicted, and the reader will not experience difficulties in understanding the information found on your poster when learning how to make a poster presentation.
The title section needs to contain the title of your work, the name of the authors (you and your teammates, eventually) and the institutional affiliation. Pay attention to the font: your title should be easily readable from a distance of about 6 to 8 metres, so refrain from cluttering it with unnecessary data. When when learning how to make a poster presentation, brevity is an imperative: use abbreviations wherever possible, cut middle initials and academic titles and decide whether to use full names or not. If you need to include a works cited section, try to limit the number of citations. When few citations have been used, you may omit the works cited section altogether.
A student who knows how to make a poster presentation should determine a logical sequence for the material to be presented in. Aim for a column-based arrangement method, but avoid the use of too many columns: an optimal number would be three, four or five, in order to avoid imparting a chaotic aspect to your presentation. Furthermore, when learning how to make a poster presentation consider using numbers to signal the correct order in which the facts are to be read.
Editing the Text
One of the most frequent concerns raised about posters is the abundance of text; a student learning how to make a poster presentation should be capable of extracting the essentials from his materials and including them in his work. Remember that posters primarily offer visual input, the text is used to support the graphics and not the other way around. According to specialists, a good poster contains 20 to 25% text, 40 to 45% graphics, figures and illustrations and the rest is empty space.
A few useful hints when learning how to make a poster presentation would be the following: a) Use the active voice in your text; b) Delete any redundant reference and sentence connectors; c) An abstract is likely to be redundant if the text on the poster is minimal, therefore avoid including an abstract altogether; d) Excessive detail about methods is unnecessary, as the graphics will often be sufficient. Furthermore, additional data may be included in handouts you could share among the audience before your presentation. If you are interested in more resources, check the London School of Economics or University of Leicester poster design sections.
Font size should allow all the information to be read from several metres away. Section headings should be written in bold letters, with a font size of anything between 36 and 42, while the rest of the text should use font sizes of 24-28. It is important to use san serif fonts, namely those that are the easiest to read, such as Times New Roman and refrain from using italics, as they can be difficult to read from a certain distance. Instead, you can opt for underlining or using a different colour for emphasis.
The clarity of your illustrations and tables will be decisive for success when learning how to make a poster presentation. With this in mind, select self-explanatory graphics that the audience can easily interpret and understand; furthermore, text explanations need to be both brief and explicit. Another matter to take into consideration when learning how to make a poster presentation is the use of colours: the more colours that are present on your poster, the more difficult it is for the audience to follow the ideas. In this regard, three or four basic colours should be enough to portray any graph or chart. Do not forget to test the resolution of illustrations yourself: they need to be easily visible from a distance of at least 2 metres.
Some students neglect the importance of contrast when learning how to make a poster presentation. There is sometimes a tendency to use strong colours as a background, resulting in poor contrasts which affect the ability to read; to avoid this, try to use muted colours or shades of gray for the background.
Hints for Oral Presentations
The oral presentation of your poster should be brief; try to address one central question, stating the manner in which the data presented on your poster offers relevant answers to it. When learning how to make a poster presentation, summarise every implication and conclusion of your study, using accessible and user-friendly language without neglecting the specific terminology required by your field of study. Lastly, give the audience a chance to ask questions for you to answer, in order to prove your knowledge on the subject and consequently enhance your chances of receiving a high mark.
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