University of South Florida St. Petersburg Campus

Research Posters: Toolkit

Tips on Presenting In-Person

Photo of student presenting a research poster  Presenting your research to an audience may seem intimidating, but it is also a rewarding experience! You have accomplished the hard work of conducting your research and designing your poster, so you should embrace the opportunity to share your expertise on your research topic. With preparation, the process of presenting your research in-person will be less stressful. 

 

Preparing to Present

  • Feel free to create note cards with your main research points to reference. However, only use them for reference and do not read off of them when presenting.
  • If you have supplemental information for your research poster (a citation page, extra graphs and charts, etc.), have enough printed copies for your audience or have the information available on a laptop or tablet. Alternatively, you can have a QR code (Links to an external site.) on your research poster that links to a page of supplemental information, a citation page, and/or a full research paper.
  • Create a list of probable questions beforehand, and practice answering them to a peer.

In the Moment

  • Do not simply read off your research poster. You can point out graphs, charts, photographs, infographics, etc. that are relevant, but do not read the text verbatim. 
  • Adapt your presentation to your audience. An audience member from outside your field will better appreciate a more basic introductory version of your research project.
  • Repeat questions asked by the audience before answering. After answering a question, follow up to ensure that the audience understood your response.

Presentation Etiquette

  • Always introduce yourself to your audience. Shake hands if appropriate.
  • Speak loudly and clearly.
  • Make eye contact with your audience. If there are multiple people in your audience, divide your attention equally among the listeners.
  • If someone disagrees with your research topic or poster, remain calm and polite. Accept the limitations of your research and explain why you chose to limit your research or what you would approve upon.
  • If someone asks questions unrelated to your research topic, politely redirect their attention to your poster.
  • Be aware of your body posture. Do not cross your arms or place hands in pockets when presenting your research. Use appropriate gestures to point out items on your research poster.
  • Do not interrupt audience members when they are speaking or asking questions.
  • Do not eat or have food in your research poster area. Water and drinks in sealed containers are fine, but refrain from drinking while presenting.
  • Do not turn your back to your audience when you are presenting.

Professional Attire

 

Photo of a group of students dressed in professional attire

  • Wear closed toe, comfortable shoes. You will be on your feet for an extended period of time, so ensure that your shoes provide adequate support.
  • Business casual attire is best. Collared shirts (either button downs or polo shirts), dress slacks or khakis, skirts, and dresses are all appropriate. Bring a sweater or blazer in case the room is cold.
  • Avoid wearing clothes with large logos or other distracting elements unless they are extremely pertinent to your research topic (i.e. a NASA shirt if you are presenting research on a NASA-related project).
  • Make sure that your clothes are comfortable. You do not want to be distracted when presenting your research by tight, itchy, or otherwise uncomfortable clothing.

 

Accessibility Accommodations

  • Do not touch mobility devices, service animals, or assistive technology without the owner’s consent.
  • If you are speaking to someone through an interpreter, speak directly to and maintain eye contact with the audience member, not the interpreter.
  • If you are speaking to someone who is deaf or hard of hearing, face them so that they can read your lips, and avoid talking while chewing. Repeat questions from other audience members before answering. Consider moving the discussion to a quieter area.
  • Come prepared with an electronic version on a tablet/laptop or a one-page printed copy of your poster or to facilitate presentations to attendees who are low vision. An electronic version is preferable since font size on standard letter size paper may be too small to be legible.
  • Speak all of the content, including describing the content of charts, graphs, and pictures.
  • If guiding someone with a visual impairment, offer them your arm rather than grabbing or pushing them.