Instructions for Poster Symposium

NASIT 2022 Poster Session Author Guidelines


Abstract submission: July 28, 2022

Poster creation: bring it to the meeting, but note that some printing services have a 5-7 day turnaround.

Poster Format

There are no formal requirements for the format of the poster, either in physical materials or particular size. However, so that we can accommodate every author in the space available, please limit the overall size of the poster that you print to less than 1 m in width. We anticipate that most participants will choose a flexible material to enable transport within a poster tube. Commercially available printing services include fedex/kinkos, which may or may not be lower price than services at your campus. You can also print on standard A4 paper and pin up the sheets to form the overall poster. Guidelines below focus on best practices for preparing a poster to support your presentation to the audience.

Narrative Structure

The most important consideration in preparing your poster is how it will support the (short) story you are telling your audience. Begin with the separate pitch you will be giving, and then consider the graphical elements you will need to support your talk, including whichever backup illustrations will be necessary. This can include a small number of equations, graphs of results, etc. along with bullet points. Remember that you are the center of attention: you are telling the story, not the poster. The poster is not a paper that provides every detail—it is a visual aid that gives a sketch of the main results, akin to a short slide presentation. You can always for example provide a weblink to material that has all the details (e.g., by QR code, or written out). In a short talk, you’ll be able to explain at most one key equation and a small number of concepts. The classic narrative structure begins with a short statement of the problem, why it is important, the key background concept(s), the main innovation(s), and results that illustrate the benefits of the innovation compared to the prior approaches. It concludes with what new research is suggested. The various panels or sections of the poster will each relate to different parts of this story, which in total should take at most five minutes to convey so that participants in the session can visit many posters.

Font and Figure Size

Bear in mind that your audience will not have their noses up against the poster. Everything on it should be easily readable at a distance of 1 m or more. Equations with sub- and superscripts are particularly difficult to read and so need to be sized extra large (especially for those who need reading glasses). Thus, even if your main innovation is a new proof with many steps, there is no chance of the entire proof being laid out on your poster and still being legible. Similarly, you may not be able to show all the simulation results or every step of an algorithm. In any case, your audience doesn’t have time for all the details and wouldn’t retain them. Therefore, you need to illustrate only one or two key results. You can then talk about matters in more detail if questions are asked. In fact, you are more likely to get questions if you focus on giving your audience the main idea of your methods and results, rather than dwelling on details. Remember that it’s all about the significance of the results, rather than the amount of work you put into it—we all know you worked hard to get a research result!

Preparing for the Presentation

Practice! Write out a point form script, then practice saying it while pointing to the appropriate illustrations of various points on the poster. The worst possible thing is to attempt to read what you’re saying directly off the poster (which should be mainly point form itself). Almost as bad is a fully memorized script—unless you’re a good actor, it will sound artificial. Once you’re to the point that it sounds natural, you’ll be better able to engage your audience with back and forth discussion.

Be enthusiastic! People pick up on your emotional state and respond in kind. If you’re not excited about your work and its future potential, why should they be? Getting over the nervousness by having practiced with your research group (or roommates) beforehand will help you convey a more compelling message.

Smile! Information theory is fun and you’ve got good things to share. Smiling will help you relax.

If you have further questions, please contact the Poster Symposium Chair, Professor Greg Pottie