Wednesday, October 10, 2012

SfN Neuroblogging 2012: unofficial rules

SfN gives some official rules for presenting posters. These are great and all, but there are some unofficial rules that you should follow as well.

Poster presenting should look like this (source)
Here are the official rules from the SfN website.
  • Poster Dimensions Authors scheduled in poster sessions are assigned posterboard space (six feet wide x four feet high or 1.8 m x 1.2 m) for displaying illustrative material (graphs, charts, and tables). Posters cannot exceed these dimensions.
  • E-mail Confirmation Authors will receive e-mail confirmation listing session title, session date, and location in late June. Authors will receive another e-mail with board numbers and presentation times in late July. This e-mail will also ask presenters for audiovisual equipment requests.
  • Author Presence Presenters are required at poster boards during a scheduled one-hour presentation time, and posters are to be mounted for the duration of a four-hour poster session. No presentation may be given by an individual who is not an author on the abstract.
  • Photography
    Photography is prohibited on the poster floor.

And here are some unofficial rules:

  • Be at your poster the whole time: They say you only need to be there during the one hour that you are scheduled, but it's a good idea to be there basically the whole time. If there really are posters you want to see during your 4 hour poster-slot, then have a co-author stay by your poster during that time. If you're lucky, you will be talking non-stop for the full four hours, and won't have time to even think about leaving.

  • Groom yourself: Nothing makes me want to get away from a poster faster that BAD BREATH. You don't need to look like a supermodel and you certainly don't need to wear a suit. But please brush your teeth, and then when you have that all important mid-morning coffee, chew some gum for a minute afterwards (then spit it out, because you don't want to smacking gum in someone's face either).

  • Engage your audience: If some one stares at your poster for more than 30 seconds, say something to them.  "Would you like me to take you through it?" or "Do you have any questions?" are perfectly fine things to say. If they say no, then let them read the poster. Though it's their loss. 

  • Don't waste your audience's time: If there are only one or two people at a time at your poster, ask them about themselves. "Are you familiar with grid cells?" or "Do you know how the striatum works?" are a great way to get a feel for what you should be telling them. You might have someone who barely knows anything about neuroscience, and for them you should start simple. But it is equally likely that you will be talking to some experts in your field. They will only want to know the newest most interesting aspect of your project. And they are probably busy and don't want to spend more than 5 minutes hearing about your poster. You shouldn't start explaining that a neuron is a cell in your brain to these people.

© TheCellularScale

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