2 min read

Poster flop

I gave my first fancy poster yesterday, at MathBio3.

I was hoping to use the experience as an opportunity to talk about how great poster sessions can be, and to refer to Terry Speed’s old IMS bulletin column in praise of poster sessions [pdf], and then to go on to discuss how, for me, the interpersonal interactions at poster sessions are rather awkward. (For example, if you look at someone’s poster for a while, with the presenter standing there watching you, are you obliged to ask a question, or can you slink off?)

However, other than two people I knew and lassoed over, I had just one person look at my poster. (He was nice enough to ask me to explain it.)

What went wrong? Here are some possibilities:

  • There is some design flaw in my poster

  • I’m scary to look at

  • My poster was in a bad location (at the end rather than the middle)

  • It was 5:30pm and people just wanted to drink

  • I’m a loser

I’m going to conclude location.

As at many conferences, the posters were not treated well.

  • The poster abstracts were not distributed (not even titles were given)

  • The poster session was at the end of the day (not last, but next-to-last)

  • The poster session was only 1 hour long, and it started 20 min late (the talks went over time)

They did have 10/30 poster presenters give a 1 minute introduction to their poster, right before the session. That worked very well (for those 10 people).