I am currently co-organizing a conference targeted at young researchers (mostly PhD or post-doctoral people). All talks are to be done by these younglings. However, there are only around 10-15 scheduled talks, while we expect at least twice as many people.
What kind of activity can we set up so that the attendees who don't get to talk still get an opportunity to share their research (with other attendees and more senior researchers)?
Our go-to option is a poster session. However, I have been at the same kind of conference before, and these tend not to be very successful. I think this is because the conference is rather small, which means few people by poster. Posters also don't seem to promote discussing with other attendees (people tend to stay beside their poster, to speak with the occasionnal interested bystander).
A few years ago, somebody organized on the fly a "research speed dating" event: from what I have understood, everybody gets five minutes to explain their reasearch head-to-head with another attendee, then the people mix up and start again. It was quite successful, or so I have heard, but the details are fuzzy and I have no experience whatsoever in organizing this kind of thing.
Our default option is still a poster session, but what other possibilities are there? Or, if nothing else, how may we run a good poster session?
Edit: the conference was last week, so I have some feedback. There were few posters, so we did a little introductory session for people not among the plenary speakers (some who submitted a poster, some who didn't). I think it was successful in fostering discussions for those who submitted posters. Thanks for all who answered here, and who helped us choose this option.