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How to Make and Present a Poster for Neuroscience 2023 Q&A

Sam Staples

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This post contains all questions and answers from the live webinar, "How to Make and Present a Poster for Neuroscience 2023." This webinar took place on Monday September 18, 2023. To view the on demand recording please visit https://neuronline.sfn.org/professional-development/how-to-make-and-present-a-poster-for-neuroscience-2023

  • Can the poster size be smaller than suggested?
    • It can be, though most people try to maximize the space available if it is not bigger than guidelines. That said, it is best to keep the poster as big as possible so people can see details.


  • Could you please give an example diagram that could be used for Introduction?
    • You can do a box and arrow diagram that shows the flow of thought that brought you to the main question that is being asked.


  • Could you repeat the poster size again please, and will it be possible to print the posters at SfN?
    • The poster size at SFN is 72" x 48". We will have resources for you to have your poster printed, more information will be available on sfn.org in the coming weeks.







  • Can you tell what dimensions of poster fits the 1.8mX1.2m board?
    • Anything that is smaller than those dimensions, but you want to take up as much of that space as possible.


  • Can we use our universities poster template? Or should they be uniform?
    • You can definitely use your university's template!



  • Can the title and contents of the poster differ a little from the abstract we submitted?
    • live answered.


  • Can I use the full left side for background and include my methods for each figure just interspersed with my results section?
    • Yes—it is flexible!


  • What kind of paper should we print our poster on?
    • There is no requirement of the type of paper, and some presenters have printed their poster on cloth before. Gloss, matte, cardstock, are all acceptable!


  • Are props allowed? Small models of things that explain the problem/solution.
    • Whatever you think will be helpful for your presentation. Sometimes people have a little video that they show demonstrating a behavior for example. 


  • When should presenters communicate their background/academic position? Asking as an undergraduate.
    • live answered


  • Can you be more specific about the difference between a "main idea" figure (beginning of poster) and a "graphical summary" (end of poster)? thank you for the webinar!
    • Main idea figures are the ones showing the data that demonstrate your point. The graphic summary is a picture that combines all the data you showed into a model of how you see the big question being answered.


  • For those of us who might want to switch from in-person to virtual poster before the deadline, would we still expect to be online at the same time we are assigned for the in-person poster? Or are all the virtual posters asynchronous?
    • Virtual posters are asynchronous, and presenters are not expected to present their posters at a specific time. There is a chat box for each virtual poster, so keep coming back to the virtual poster floor for questions & answers!


  • Landscape mode, right?
    • That is typical.


  • Should we include the abstract at the beginning of the poster?
    • Can be a digest of the actual abstract for sake of space.


  • When you choose a title in the future, how do you balance keeping it interesting but also accurate to your niche research?
    • live answered


  • What’s the best way to make posters stand out when amongst hundreds of posters? (This will be my first time at SfN).
    • live answered


  • Will we have on-site printing service this year? Last year we have FedEx on-site printing service
    • On-site printing will be available, more information will be available on sfn.org in the coming weeks


  • How strict is the 1 hour window presentation? Can we go over that time if we get more engagement and/or wonder to other poster a little during that time?
    • Your poster is assigned a 4 hour session with a 1-hour presentation window. You are only required to be at your poster during the 1-hour window but can stay for the entire 4 hour session if you'd like. Usually presenters spend the entire time there.


  • Can you say more about the virtual poster - when do they start . I have signed up for vitual and in person presentation?
    • More information about when and how to upload your virtual poster will be shared in the coming weeks. Watch your email for communications from program@sfn.org.


  • Is it frowned upon to use the same poster for multiple conferences if you haven't gotten additional meaningful data in the meantime?
    • Don’t think so!


  • I am presenting a nano, and I am looking for postdoc positions for the next year. I want to know your opinion on how can I “advertise” me in a nano.
    • live answered


  • How do people show videos ? on their laptop next to the poster . How do presenters keep it up at eye level - chair/table?
    • Yes, you can have your laptop or your phone with you and have your video cued up that you show people who have stopped by.


  • If I cannot be present by my poster but my supervisor could stand there by my poster to answer any probable questions, is it fine? And should I prepare a virtual poster (and/or video presentation) as well?
    • If the presenting author cannot attend the annual meeting, a presentation by a co-author is acceptable. Anyone who presents must be listed as a co-author on the abstract and must be registered for the annual meeting to present.


  • What type of software/application have you used to make your poster and figures for the poster?
    • live answered


  • How do I communicate with people of different backgrounds and make sure they have understood what I have presented?
    • live answered


  • Might be a question for the group: Does anyone have suggestions for how to solicit your department, graduate school, or university to fund subscriptions to poster making programs (such as BioRender)? Realizing this may be dependent on university size and funding. If you have access to this program, do you find it is worth it compared to using PowerPoint or Google Slides?
    • live answered


  • Could you tell us how we can make a QR code for our poster?
    • live answered


  • How do we refer to previous studies? do we have to have a long list of references?
    • live answered


  • Will there be electrical outlets next to each poster?
    • There will not be electrical outlets next to posters, and we unfortunately cannot run power cables to posters if requested.


  • I am not getting US visa appointment. I signed up for both virtual and in person. I am an undergrad student and applying for graduate applications this year. So, I won't get an opportunity to network with people offline. Please suggest something for this.
    • Virtual attendees will have access to the virtual platform and mobile app where you can connect with both in-person and virtual attendees via the q&a and messaging features.


  • One or multi-page PDF virtual poster, which one's best?
    • I think single page is best


  • I registered to attend both in-person and virtual, can the virtual poster be a pdf version of the same poster that will be posted in person?
    • Yes, they can be the same poster.


  • If we stick a (battery operated) blinking neon light on the poster ..would that be frowned upon ?
    • We wouldn't recommend using anything that might trigger reactions in photo-senstive attendees, or interfere with emergency designation, but we appreciate your enthusiasm!




  • Sorry, but it's my first Congress, I'm an undergraduate student, and I live in Brazil. Do you know if I need to check the poster with my baggage on the plane? If you can respond in writing, it would be better because I'm not fluent.
    • Poster tubes can go on carry-on (in most cases!)


  • At the virtual poster we need to express what screen are we talking about at anytime?
    • I like to label each panel with a large letter so I can refer to the panels by letter


  • Related to the photo question— where should we indicate that we’re presenting unpublished data?
    • live answered


  • What do you think about the recent trend of having references listed in a QR code rather than taking space on the poster?
    • live answered


  • When interacting with visitors, are there phrases you should not say? For example, you obviously cannot reply, "Great question, I will get back to you."  I have only presented at my school, so this is usually my automatic reply...
    • Did you know your badge will have a QR code that attendees can scan to get your contact info? This is a great tool to communicate with connections after your poster presentation!


  • I have seen people put a QR code to references.  Is that okay to do?
    • live answered


  • My data is unpublished and I am presenting it virtually. So, will my figures and data be freely available to all the people?


  • Is it common to invite researchers that you do not know but follow their work to visit your poster? If so, should it be a few days before the poster session?
    • live answered



  • Due to baggage size restrictions, is it more common to bring a foldable fabric poster than a paper poster in a case when traveling?
    • We have had presenters print their posters on fabric, or you can print your poster onsite! More information about printing onsite is coming soon. We know many of the in-bound flights to SfN each year are filled with poster tubes!


  • Will our abstract be published at any journal after the congress?
    • Abstracts will be available on the Neuroscience Meeting Planner but will not be published in a journal.


  • Related to this question, how can we know whether someone is going to attend SfN?
    • live answered


  • Following up - how do we find the email of the key attendees to find mentors and reach out to them?


  • Can we get the virtual posters of other presenters even after the presentations are over?
    • Virtual posters will be available on the virtual component for 30 days after the close of the meeting.


  • Do you recommend making business cards? Are they commonly used at conferences today?
    • live answered



  • How can we use this opportunity at the conference to attract more job interviews if we are looking for job opportunities as a postdoc?
    • You can put a panel on your poster noting that you are looking for postdoc opportunities.



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