Vanderbilt Research Fair

Presentation of your Poster

Presentation of your Poster and/or Slides

Students can elect to present in one of two ways: a traditional poster OR a slide presentation on their personal device.  Students who wish to present using a slide presentation MUST have approval from their principal investigator and are not permitted to use video, software demonstrations, or any other type of demonstrative that would not appear on a poster presentation.

Whether presenting a poster or slides, be sure to consider your audience.  Students, faculty, staff, and the public have been invited to the fair.  You should assume that you will be presenting your work to interested, smart people, but many may be unfamiliar with your subject or project focus.

Poster Presentations:

A poster should be complete and self-supporting so that different viewers may read at their leisure. The author should only need to supplement or discuss particular points raised during inquiry. Remember that several people of varying degrees of interest and experience may be viewing your poster at once. Therefore, you will want to make your points as complete and brief as possible.  Also, as you prepare your poster, please do consider your audience.  You should assume that you will be presenting your work to interested, smart people, but people who may not know much about your research area coming in.

Slide Presentations:

A slide presentation should supplement and complement the presenter’s verbal presentation.  The presentation should include an overview of all required elements and should not be used to go “in-depth”.  This is a brief presentation that attendees can ask questions about following the presentation.  A reminder: Videos, software demonstrations, or other type of demonstrative that would not be found in a poster presentation are not permitted in slide presentations.

Presentation Tips

  • Know your field of study
    • Read or re-read some relevant literature
  • Know your audience (students, faculty, staff)
  • If you don’t know an answer to a question, it is all right to say  “I don’t know…” or “I’m not sure about that…” or “I’ll have to look that up…”
  • Don’t disappear!!!
    • Be present at your designated presentation time (at the very minimum!!)
    • Be prepared not to leave for a while
  • Wear comfortable shoes … you’ll be standing for a couple of hours
  • Take a bathroom break beforehand
  • Have a bottle of water handy!
  • Don’t ignore people at your poster/presentation
    • Don’t spend too much time with one person at the expense of others
  • Do give people space
    • Let them look your poster over
    • Let them ask you a question first, or after a few minutes ask them if they have any questions
    • Have a prepared a 5-min “spiel” for those who would like a “run-through” of your poster or presentation
    • Start with the statement of “big picture”…i.e., why did you do this study
    • Remember you are not the only one presenting at the meeting…people have many posters and presentations to see
    • If someone is very interested … you will know