“Some key questions I used to put together my content were, ‘Why does this matter?’ and ‘What have we changed?’ By answering these questions simply I was able to make my research generally accessible.”
Joey Harding, Senior, Mathematics & English
You know a lot about your project, and you have an investment in it. Be confident that you know your subject. Your knowledge and excitement will come through.
Have a one- or two-minute mini-speech (the “elevator talk”) ready to go. When people begin looking at your poster, don’t wait for them to ask a question. Just say, “Would you like to hear about my research for a minute or two?” They almost always agree, and this frees them from having to read and figure it all out themselves.
Offer to answer questions, and if you don’t know an answer just admit it and speculate with the person or ask what he/she might do. Point to figures and use them in your explanation.
Check with your audience to make sure they understand the technical aspects of the explanations (for example, “Do you know about fluorescence microscopy?”) if that’s an important component of your study.
Check regularly to make sure they’re following what you’re saying (”Does that make sense?”).
Remember that visitors with questions are not trying to challenge your expertise — they’re genuinely interested in learning more about your work, or in helping you think of better or additional ways to approach your topic.
To convey your ideas effectively, you need to speak with confidence. A confident voice has
Adapted from the UT Writing Center’s Poster Presentations handout.