Powerful Poster Presentations: Plan Your Message

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Today’s topic focuses on what you need to do before you start building your poster: plan!

Planning your message for your specific audience and purpose are key concepts for any communication, and especially for effective posters. Begin by asking two questions: what is my purpose, and to whom do I need to direct this message?

You may consider that your overall purpose is to communicate your key findings to a scientific audience. You also want to gain recognition and knowledge through your interactions with your colleagues. Your science must be credible and your poster must be concise and organized to accomplish these objectives. What additional specific objectives do you have?

Also, analyze your audience with respect to their previous knowledge, expectations, and preferences. Keep in mind the most common problem in poster design is including too much information. Ask yourself, “is this absolutely essential to this audience’s understanding?” and if it’s not, cut it. Make “less is more” your mantra, particularly with respect to the text. A good rule of thumb is to select approximately four to six main points. Don’t try to convey too much; you will have to make choices about what’s most important.

Image flickr by hooverine

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