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I am joining in few days a computer science conference where I will have to present a poster, based on a paper accepted to the conference.

My poster is a standard A0 3 columns poster, and presenting it takes me around 5 minutes; I have no idea if 5 minutes is the right amount of time, as this is my first poster presentation.

I am afraid that it may be too long: the full poster session takes 30 minutes, with about 10 posters exposed.

Any experience on this? Should I try to shorten my presentation?

  • Are you sure the poster session takes 30 minutes, or just a "madness session" meant to motivate conference attendees to come to the actual poster session (or look at the posters during the coffee breaks, even if the author is nowhere near)? If it is indeed just such an "advertising session", check out this question. – O. R. Mapper Aug 9 '17 at 16:02
  • I mean: there is a moment, called "poster session" where people stands in front of their poster, and attendees go there and ask questions about posters; the schedule of the conference dedicates to this moment 30 minutes.. – Ulderique Demoitre Aug 9 '17 at 16:07
  • Which conference is this? @Darkwing's answer below has been my experience with most CS conferences. – lungj Aug 11 '17 at 17:35
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In general, depends on the conference's poster presentation format. Check the guidelines for a given timespan. If there is none, then it is probably no presentation, but a normal poster session where you are presenting your poster in parallel with a lot of other people in a room. People will come by and you can explain your work to them.

In such a scenario, I would not assume to do a fully linear presentation. Rather I'd prepare a very short topic introduction (at most a minute, better 30 seconds). Then check back with your visitor if they seem interested or are asking questions already. Then based on interaction with your visitor, try to find out which aspects of your work are interesting to them and drill deeper in the respective direction.

Poster sessions are very much about direct interaction, so don't try to shower everyone with a whole bucket of water as soon as they arrive, give them small sips and see if they like your wine. If they do, you may end up empyting whole bottles with one or two of them and drunkenly end up in a bar in the evening to plan your collaboration. Most people will just nod and smile to your short intro and be happy to go on.

P.S. If you can present all your content in about 5 minutes that's however a good indication that you've chosen about the right level of abstraction - I'd just cut it in smaller pieces that you can dish out individually/as layers.

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For me, when I've presented a poster at a conference I haven't produced a full spiel to work through. There are a lot of posters at these sessions and people want to go round, take away some key points and move on.

My best advice is to make sure you know the information on the poster inside and out so if and when you do get questions you're able to rattle off an answer or stimulate a discussion with them.

Maybe its the nature of my research but I find most people read for 30 seconds, look at me, nod and move on so don't be offended!

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Check first how much time you have been allocated but if you are worried your presentation is too long then stick to the highlights so people will visit you later for additional details, where time will not be an issue : tell the audience why they should come to visit you at the poster session, rather than tell them about the contents.

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