Poster Presentation Guidelines

Guidelines for Poster Presentations


Student poster presenters will spend one-hour-long session standing next to their poster. They will speak about their research project to faculty and students and entertain questions from those who pass by. They will have a designated session and location at the SURC event for their poster presentation.

We will provide push pins or clips and a backboard to mount student posters. State University of New York at Fredonia is using easels. The poster size should be no larger than 39” horizontal and 27” vertical.

Preparing Posters

  • Most people create their work using Microsoft PowerPoint. When setting up your document you will need to reset the document size to the size of your poster (Be mindful of page orientation).

  • Prepare a poster that is informative and graphically appealing.

  • Poster should include presenter name, co-authors, academic program, home university, faculty advisor(s) and project title.

  • Poster should clearly and concisely detail the project’s topic, scope, methodology, results (evidence, source material) and conclusions (thesis, interpretations).

  • Minimize detail in your poster content, focus on highlighting the main points that are important in your research study.  Avoid use of jargon, try to write for a scientifically sophisticated audience, but not necessarily an audience that is specific to your discipline.  In other words, Psychology students and faculty may be reading Biology posters, etc., so they need to be understandable to everyone.

  • Use visual elements in your poster.   A poster that consists of only paragraphs of text is boring.  Aim for presenting at least some of your information in other ways.  For example, you can use graphs or tables in your results section, with just bulleted points to explain the graphs/tables.  Or in your method section, you may use bullets to present information about participants and/or materials.  You may also include photos illustrating your topic.  This is the part where you get to be more creative than when you write a typical paper.

  • You are encouraged to work drafts of the poster through your campus faculty advisor.


Creating the poster in PowerPoint


  • The basic idea is that you make a HUGE powerpoint slide that corresponds to a printed page that is typically 24 inches x 36 inches.  So the first step in PowerPoint is to go under the DESIGN tab, choose Page Setup.  Select a custom size, and enter 36 inches for the width and 24 inches for the height.  If you want the landscape orientation, make sure to specifically select that.

  • Under the Home tab, in the Slides section on the toolbar, use the Layout menu to choose “BLANK” format.  Then from the INSERT tab, choose to insert a new textbox, and type in your text, or you can also copy and paste from a word document.  You will probably have to size the textbox to make it look right on the slide.   Choose your background design from the options under the DESIGN tab.  Note that other background designs can be downloaded from the Microsoft website.

  • You may need to change the zoom size to 25 or 30% to see the whole poster/page in the window, but you will probably need it larger to see what you are typing.  You will want to use a large font, at least size 18 or 24.  The font should also be clean and plain, such as Times New Roman, or Calibri, no fancy script.

  • Under the INSERT tab, there are also options to insert graphs or pictures from other files.


Preparing Your Presentation

  • Prepare a few-minute summary of your work for people who ask what your project is about.

  • Practice your presentation so that it is concise, clear, evidenced and effectively delivered.

  • Seek editorial assistance and a practice audience from peers and/or faculty advisor(s).


Day of the Conference

  • All posters presentations will be located at the designated SURC facility at the host institution.

  • Know the scheduled time of your poster presentation. Volunteers and signs will direct you to your specific table location. Arrive at least 10 minutes early to set up your poster.

  • On provided display board, you can set up a printed poster of up to 27” x 39” or a series of smaller printouts.

  • If you decide to supplement your poster with an electronic display, you must bring your own fully charged laptop/tablet as the facility cannot provide power in the poster display area.

  • Present yourself well: dress professionally, wear your nametag, turn off cell phone or personal computer (or turn off volume).

  • Consider bringing a contact info sheet/card to distribute to people interested in your work, including your name, home university, academic program, email and/or phone number, title of your poster and/or abstract of your project.

  • Be prepared to learn: this is an opportunity to confidently share your hard work and humbly look forward to respectful questions and constructive feedback.

  • Good news: being nervous does not hurt your credibility or authority. Have fun and enjoy!