Powerful Poster Presentations: Make a Schedule

new-orleans-louisiana 1.jpg
Dear Del,
I’m planning on presenting a poster at the AMS meeting in New Orleans this year, but I’ve never done one before. What do I need to do?
Forward Thinking Student

Dear Forward Thinking Student,
This is a great opportunity! Over the next few weeks, I’ll blog about the steps you can take to create a powerful poster presentation. This week the topic is “making a schedule.”

A scientific poster is used to communicate your research at a scientific meeting or conference. Think of the poster as a condensed version of your research experience. It highlights the most significant parts of your study; therefore, it is a summary of the main points as opposed to a comprehensive paper or report. Although each poster should be designed with your specific audience and purpose in mind, you will find helpful general guidelines on this blog to point you in the right direction of creating a powerful poster.

Make Time

One of the most important considerations is to give yourself enough time to do the job well. For many, it takes at least two weeks of concentrated effort–even after all the parts have been decided upon and written. Here’s a typical schedule.


Poster Completion Schedule



Day 1

Read and take notes on guidelines posted by the conference planners. Make a schedule.

Day 2

Read research documents. Identify key points.

Day 3

Plan your message. Pay attention to audience and purpose. Make an outline.

Day 4

Sketch a basic layout that adheres to the conference guidelines.

Day 5

Write conventional components (introduction, methods, results and discussion–IMRaD).

Day 6

Compile the references and acknowledgement sections.

Day 7

Plan graphics. Keep them simple!

Day 8

Create the graphics.

Day 9

Use a software program to build your poster.

Day 10

Print a full-sized draft. Diligently proofread and edit. Recruit readers to give feedback.

Day 11

Make suggested changes. Review carefully. Look for improvements in brevity and clarity.

Day 12

Prepare a three minute verbal explanation to accompany your poster.

Day 13

Review your poster and rehearse your explanation. Prepare a handout if needed.

Day 14

Print your final copy. Edit and proofread again. Prepare to go to the conference.

Notice it takes at least two weeks of concentrated effort! By scheduling enough time to organize, write, edit, proofread, and revise your poster, you’re giving your career a boost.

If you create and present a powerful poster, you may learn something valuable to apply to your research, or you may meet someone who may want to hire you. If nothing else, through the process of having to create a poster, you will discover ways to concisely and engagingly display your findings, and you will gain practice orally presenting and defending your research to a knowledgeable audience.

This entry was posted in Professional Development and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply