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Going round conference poster sessions, I notice the occasional poster where the presenter has used a bit of creativity to help with their communication/networking, perhaps related to linking in some way to online information, or giving people something to take away that will help them to remember the person or information. What methods have you used or come across that add value to a poster in that sort of way?

I'm interested in things outside of the basic content of the poster - by "basic content" I mean the text and images that communicate your research (there are some good answers to this question that cover that kind of thing).

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    I knew one recently graduated PhD who served Scotch at their poster... It was well attended. – Jon Custer Jun 10 at 16:43
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Trying to avoid basic content organization that is already mentioned by this question.

From the added values point of view, I have seen/would have appreciated:

  • option to take a print-out with an abstract, arXiv/full paper that the poster is based on
  • have business cards ready/available to be freely taken (you might have to be creative on how to attach/arrange things around your poster/poster board depending on conference organization)
  • QR code in the poster with a link to a relevant website (source code, open data, etc). I tend to take pictures of posters that I am interested in. And I like QR codes.
  • have a note (somewhere visible) that you will be available (and be there!) in the coffee shop of the conference location at a specified time if somebody wishes to discuss the research. Reason: sometimes you are presenting research that attracts a lot of people, so you are always busy talking and presenting. So, not everyone gets a chance to talk to you – and their time near the poster is also limited, so they might not come by around the second time - only to find you busy with another person questioning you on some irrelevant topic.
  • If you are presenting something for which "you can print a simplified 3-D model", not necessarily up-to-scale - that is always fun.

I do not mention the "freebies" that you can giveaway without creating obstruction since they might attract people to your poster but probably will not add value. However, certainly, have them if you can :) I would not complain. Nobody would complain.

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    I pin or velcro copies of the business card or paper to the bottom of the poster board. – Anonymous Physicist Jun 11 at 5:17
  • Noting another time when you'll be available is a great idea, especially given that people who are also presenting posters at the same time can struggle to get round the others in the session. – user2390246 Jun 11 at 11:46
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In some cases I have created a simplified version of an experiment and brought it with me to a poster presentation. In my case the experiment lit up, so it attracted quite a lot of attention.

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Often, academics focus too much on the content and forget (or have never learned) about the effects nice colors/nice images or just a nice arrangement of the content has. Try to talk to professional designers and ask them for help.

(It goes without saying that you should not replace content by nice images, they should support the content.)

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