I have submitted my first paper in a very top conference, but the paper was accepted in the poster section instead. I am ok with that, as the reviews were very helpful.

However, is it interesting to travel (it is far from my workplace) to do a poster presentation? I have never done such a presentation as I just finished my first Ph.D. year, but I believe it would be interesting to meet people and have some feedbacks. I am just afraid that people will go through the poster and not ask questions, so the work would have been done for "nothing". I still hesitate because the conference is very good in my field.

Thanks for your feedback.

  • 4
    One of the big purposes of conferences is honestly just being there and networking. If the costs are covered or you can cover them, I would say go. What does your advisor say? (Assuming you have one)
    – Van
    Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 2:34
  • I am waiting to meet them :D
    – Ecterion
    Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 2:37
  • 4
    A lot worth indeed
    – Alchimista
    Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 9:42
  • 1
    @Buffy "I just finished my first Ph.D. year"
    – Tommi
    Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 14:14
  • 1
    @TommiBrander, yes, but it is a bit ambiguous, given the title (which I've now updated - I hope accurately)
    – Buffy
    Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 14:18

4 Answers 4


It depends on how well the poster session is organized, and on the culture in your discipline (do people show up, do they engage with the people next to the poster or just do the pro forma lap past all posters and leave again, etc.). So there is no single answer to this question.

However, I come from a discipline that puts little value on poster presentations, and I disagree. For me the poster presentations are the ones that have been most productive. In a poster session there is much more room for me to interact with the participants, while in a presentation it is me talking followed by one or two questions. It is the interaction (questions) from the audience that tells me if my argument is clear, if I made any mistakes, if there are some interesting angles I have missed, if there is another group that does interesting complementary work, etc. etc. So I have received a lot more interesting feedback from poster presentation than from oral presentations. Also, if a part of my argument is unclear, it typically takes a bit of back and forth to pin down where the exact problem is. In a oral presentation there is typically little room for that, but such a conversation is perfectly natural for a poster presentation.

So my suggestion is to ask someone who has attended that conference before whether the poster session was half-way decent (not 7 in the morning on the day after the conference diner, 20 minutes walk from the main venue, parallel to lunch which was served on another location, or other disasters). If there are no disasters, then a poster presentation is probably well worth it.

  • I agree with you to the extent that I even only give invited talks and submit with a preference for a poster otherwise. However, we should take into account that OP is a PhD student who should get some experience with giving talks at conferences.
    – user9482
    Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 11:35
  • Thanks for your answer and apologize for the late reply. The poster session will happen from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM, for 3 days. I also had the opportunity to re-submit my paper to another conference, that happens at the same place / same day. So I will probably go in any case and do both.
    – Ecterion
    Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 2:02

Attending your first conference as a PhD student is a great opportunity to get acquainted with how conferences work in your field, to witness how your senior colleagues interact with each other, to learn what other people are doing in your area and identify new emerging and trending topics. I think this would be a great opportunity for you even if you didn't have anything to present. But since you have a poster presentation, on top of all the above you may get to present your work to an audience and maybe establish interactions that may lead to useful advice or even a collaboration further down the line.

It is true that poster presentations limit the exposure of your work compared to talks, but I think you should not worry about this at your current career stage.


I am in a field with a pretty strong "poster session" culture. At a major conference poster session, you will find not only grad students, but well respected scholars presenting their research in poster format.

To be fair, poster sessions always align with 1:00-2:30 after lunch dessert time or 5:00-6:30 cocktail hour. So in essence, its a chance for doc students to network and present their research in a casual environment. For established scholars, its a casual place to chit chat about their latest project while enjoying a glass of wine or piece of cheesecake.

This is not the norm across all disciplines though. I have been to conferences where a poster session was akin to a throw away presentation where no one really showed up, even some of the authors.

My recommendation is to ask someone who has been to the conference to get a feel of what the poster session is like.

  • Thanks a lot for your words! I will definitely go as I will submit my work to another conference that happens in the same place and the same date as the other one.
    – Ecterion
    Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 2:06

A poster session presentation is a very useful way to introduce yourself to a conference. A talk is higher profile, but also higher risk. You should certainly WATCH a half dozen conference presentations before trying to DO one, and having a poster at a conference is a great mechanism to do so.

  • Huh? Are you saying that you shouldn't submit a great paper to a conference if you haven't ever been to a conference before, because you might end up giving a bad talk? This is terrible advice. If you've never been to a conference before and you have to give a talk, get advice from colleagues or advisors who have, and give two or three practice presentations before you go. You'll be fine. Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 14:17
  • @PeterShor -- my answer is to the student that asked the question, and is certainly influenced by my assessment of that student's state of preparation -- and for THIS conference, where a review panel has assigned the paper to a poster session. THIS STUDENT should use the experience of the poster session to learn the ins and outs of conference presentations. "You should" is not the same as "One should". Would you advise this student to bypass this conference? Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 14:28
  • Absolutely not. But you should is very misleading language. Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 16:01

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .