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.
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.
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.