Creating Effective Poster Presentations | Know Your Audience(s)
George Hess | Kathryn Tosney | Leon Liegel

An Effective Poster
Define Your Message
Know Your Audience(s)
An Effective Abstract
Create Your Poster
    :: Planning
    :: Focus
    :: Layout
    :: Headings
    :: Graphics
    :: Text
    :: Colors
    :: Editing
    :: Software
Present Your Poster
Examples of Posters
Video Library
Using this Site
Reproducing Material
The Authors
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You should make your message accessible to a diverse audience.

Picture of a bunch of people There are three categories of readers in most audiences (Woolsey 1989). People in ...
  • your field of specialization
  • fields closely related to yours
  • unrelated fields
  • To satisfy them all, you should ...

  • Provide context for your work. Explain the big picture and why the problem is important.
  • Use plain language to present your work.
  • Avoid jargon and acronyms unless you're really positive that yours will be a specialist-only audience.
  • Interpret your findings so that readers in all categories can understand how your work helps solve the problem you've described.

    >>Consider the alternatives>>

    Audience Category Requirements

    People in your field of specialization, including your competitors. No special efforts are required to attract them. They will read whatever you present, no matter how well or poorly you present it.
    People in fields closely related to yours are worth capturing, because they can have interesting insights and perspectives about your work. They will require that you supply context for your work. They are likely to be unfamiliar with your jargon.
    People in unrelated fields can be attracted by an accessible message, and provide valuable insights and links to distant fields. They require you to explain the problem and the solution. They will not understand your jargon.

    Alternatively,consider the type of meeting.

  • Specialists only. For example, Symposium on the Behavioral Ecology of Ants. You can assume a high level of disciplinary knowledge, use jargon, and take other presentation shortcuts.

  • Wide-ranging discipline. For example, Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting. You can assume familiarity with the discipline in general, but there are so many sub-specialties that jargon is to be avoided and language simplified.

  • Very general audience. For example, a town-hall meeting on wildlife conservation. You cannot assume familiarity with any discipline and must explain everything in the most basic terms.