Poster session blues

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Connor Taff and baby

Did I miss your poster? Were there hundreds of posters crammed into narrow aisles? Was the poster session only two hours long? Did I find plenty of people to talk to who did not have posters?

Sometimes I like to browse the posters when the room is empty, but that is hard if they are far away. I fear that if I talk to you, I will be stuck with far more detail than I want. Please keep it to two minutes unless I ask questions.

Let me read the poster first, or ask me if I would like to. I’m usually happy to hear the spiel if it is short. I hope your poster has a point. I hope your poster ties clearly to theory. The point can be negative results, but it should not wander too much. The figures should tell the story.DSC04958

Just because I didn’t talk to you doesn’t mean I didn’t see and like your poster. But I’m more confused than ever by the balance between posters and talks. Neither is going away, clearly. Higher visibility people give longer talks and this is not always a good thing. Newcomers give posters.DSC05010

Ideally we can talk science with neither. But markers are good.  I’m thinking that at the next meeting I go to, maybe I’ll have a poster I draw on the spot, with a title and a few things I’m interested in, the way Rosie did at a Microbial Population Biology Gordon Conference a few years ago.

Evolution at Snowbird had plenty of space for posters and plenty of time because they were in the big tent with all the vendors and the food. Behavior had a spectacular but remote location for posters, high above the stadium. Dicty has few posters in a small, easy room, though no way to keep the posters up on the wall.

Just remember, a poster is not the whole story. It is the advertizement for the story.

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About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis
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One Response to Poster session blues

  1. Andrea A. says:

    Honestly,I found the abs poster sessions a complete waste of time and energy due to the layout. It was not a friendly venue to anyone with hearing problems. This is separate from the issues of cramming too much information into a tiny space and lack of visual advertisement skills of most posters.

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