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Poster Design: The Poster Session

Use to guide to create an effective research, project, or other type of poster.

During the Poster Session

  • Smile
  • Wear a nametag
  • Speak clearly and at a moderate pace
  • Keep your language simple
  • Use your hand to direct your listener to your poster
  • Dress in neat and clean clothing and wear comfortable shoes
  • Thank people for their interest

Craft an Elevator Speech

An elevator speech is a short pitch meant to introduce the important aspects of a topic or concept in 30-60 seconds. 

It is helpful to think in terms of an elevator speech when preparing for a poster session at a conference, because it can help you to ensure you convey the most important parts of your research in a quick, engaging way. It can also help you feel prepared if you are nervous to talk to people during your session.

Best Practices

  • Think about the most important and interesting points of your research and make sure you address them.
  • Don't be too concerned with details, your audience is taking in a LOT of information, make it easy for them to digest.
  • Practice!! You can do this by yourself or with others and it is a great way to get comfortable discussing your topic.


A handout is a great way to send listeners home with a reminder of your work and your contact information.

Conferences and other events can be hectic and attendees will likely be overwhelmed with information. A handout is a good way to remind them of your work and offer ways to get in touch with you if they so choose. This can be a simple 8.5x11" sheet or half sheet reiterating your key points and contact information.

Resources to Prepare for a Poster Presentation

Some of these resources are for lightning talks, which are a bit longer than elevator pitches, but will offer some helpful considerations and ideas for how to prepare for your poster session.