Aug 22 2017

15 Tips for Poster Presenters


Congratulations! You’ve created and submitted a great scientific poster abstract for consideration and it’s been accepted for presentation! Now what? What size should your poster be? What format does it need to be in? How will you find your poster board? What day will you present it?

If this is your first time presenting at poster at ISHI (and even if it’s not), some of these questions may be playing on repeat in your mind. That’s why we’ve created this cheat sheet to help you sort it out.




Written by: Tara Luther, Promega



1. Consider having your poster printed on-site at the Business Center.

This will save you from carrying it on the plane. After the conference, you can have the poster shipped home using the Business Center as well.


2. Try a poster printed on fabric! 

With two day delivery time, you’ll have your poster quickly, and will be able to save space in your suitcase. We’ve partnered with Postersmith to provide you with a discounted fabric poster. Orders placed between August 2 – October 2, 2017 will receive a 15% discount and free shipping. Visit this link to order your poster.


3. Scope out the exhibit hall early Tuesday morning. 

The poster boards will be numbered. Getting a lay of the land early on Tuesday morning will allow you more time to set up your poster and network later in the day. Two poster sessions will be scheduled during the conference. Odd numbered posters will be presented on Tuesday, October 3rd from 3:30-5:30pm. Even numbered posters will then be presented on Wednesday, October 4th from 3:20-5:15pm.


4. Print your poster 45″ wide by 32″ tall (or similar). 

Poster boards are 4 feet high by 8 feet wide. You will be provided with push pins when on-site. Your poster does not need to take up this entire space, and can presented as a single, large format document or as a collection of smaller pieces of data. A good rule of thumb is that your poster be readable from 4-6 feet away.


5. Design your poster so that it can be understood without any additional explanation from you.

Posters typically include the following sections:

  • Title
  • Collaborators (including you) and their institutional affiliations
  • Abstract
  • Background/literature review
  • Research question(s)
  • Materials, approach, process, or methods
  • Results/conclusion
  • Future directions, especially if this is a work in progress
  • Acknowledgements
  • Contact information


6. Check with your institution to see if they have a template you can use.

If not, be sure to create a document matching the final printed dimensions of your poster. Many use Microsoft PowerPoint to design their posters.


7. Use large text. 

The following are general recommendations:

  • Title – 72pt.
  • Headings – 30-60pt
  • Body Text – 18-24pt


8. Use fonts that are easy to read.

Recommendations include: Times New Roman, Garamond, or Arial, and avoid using more than 2-3 different fonts.


9. Avoid jagged edges on text blocks. 

Either left-justify text within text boxes or fully justify blocks of text.


10. Organize and align your content with columns, sections, headings, and blocks of text.

Adding white space between sections is helpful to increase readability.


11. Choose colors carefully.

Avoid color combinations that have high contrast or are hard on the eyes. If in doubt, dark text on light backgrounds work great.


12. Don’t wait for viewers to ask you a question. 

Prepare a short one – two minute summary of your research and then offer to answer any questions. This frees up the reader from figuring it out on their own.


13. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know” if you aren’t sure how to answer questions. 

This is a great chance to collaborate and try to formulate an answer together.


14. Speak loudly and slowly when presenting.

The exhibit hall can be quite noisy once filled with hundreds of people! Make sure that your listener understands any technical aspects of what you are presenting.


15. Share your poster on the conference website.

If you’d like to include your poster on, please send a pdf version to Tara Luther.