An Open Letter to Poster Presenters

From the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies, Baltimore:

Dear Pediatric Academic Societies meeting poster presenter, or any poster presenter:

If you don’t care about getting your research published in the medical, trade, and lay press, whose reporters are furiously scouring the poster hall for stories, this post is not for you. Probably there are a decent number of you out there, and that’s fine. But if you think you would like to see your findings in a magazine or newspaper, read on. These are some tips to making that happen.

1. Bring handouts of your poster. If Reporter A, also known as “I-have-20-stories-to-write-by-tomorrow” is walking past three equally interesting posters, also known as “seriously-intense-studies-of-gene-loci-using-statistical-methods-derived-from-string-theory,” and Poster 1 has a handout but the other two don’t, guess which one is more likely to be written up. That’s because I can sit down to write up Poster 1 with all the data at hand, directly from the researcher, as opposed to me copying it down in a hurry in the back of a notebook somewhere. I can also refer back to it when the copy editors come knocking on my cube, demanding to know the origins of a particular percentage.

2. If your poster is going to be up and you’re not going to be standing in front of it the whole time, put your e-mail address on it somewhere. If the data are great, and the presenter is nowhere in sight, I will still write the story. But if I have big questions, and I can’t get in touch with you, the story — unless it is really killer — won’t go anywhere.

3. Include your disclosures — or, equally important, your lack thereof — on the poster. Just because Merck bought you a Porsche doesn’t mean I’m not going to write a story about your study. I will still probably ask you if there are any ADDITIONAL disclosures, if I’m really on my game. But writing it on the poster lets me know that you’ve thought them through, and I don’t have to spend an hour stalking you and your past studies on Google. (Did I say stalking? I mean, er, researching.)

4. If the data in the poster is updated from the data in the abstract in the program or online, write that on the poster, too. It will save me some head scratching when I’m trying to figure out why the abstract says 80% and the poster said 10%.

Are there more things I’m leaving out, EGMNers? Presenters, what do you think about these recommendations? Am I asking too much? Let me know!, or on Twitter @denisenapoli

—Denise Napoli


1 Comment

Filed under Pediatrics

One response to “An Open Letter to Poster Presenters

  1. Pingback: Poster sessions done right « EGMN: Notes from the Road

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