How to Communicate
Your Research to Others
You have invested months, or perhaps years, mastering chemistry concepts and conducting your research project.
Now the final challenge is to articulately communicate your
results to others.
1. Practice,;practice,;practice presenting your poster to
yourself and to your advisor and labmates. You should
have a solid understanding of your research and be
familiar with other related research.
2. Always;introduce;yourself and make sure to get your
3. Before you begin your presentation, ask;visitors;about;
their;background;knowledge;about;the;topic. If they
are experts, you do not have to go into detail about the
background and introduction. If they know little about
your topic, you may want to spend more time on the
background. For example, I heard one poster presenter go
into a ton of needless detail about the background, even
though one of my papers was actually referenced on the
poster. The presenter simply didn’t realize who I was.
about your poster. If visitors are interested in learning
more, they will ask you questions. With many posters in a
session, viewers do not want to get “trapped” at a poster
that they are only moderately interested in.
5. Do;not;read;the;poster;to;your;visitors. They already know
how to read!
Brent Znosko is an associate professor of chemistry at Saint Louis
University in St. Louis, MO.
poster board by ACS staff— and the poster pins. Each poster
number corresponds with the number appearing beside a listing of the poster in the program book. Your poster should be up
and ready to present no less than 15 minutes before the start of
your poster session. Immediately after the close of the session,
you are responsible for removing your poster. Even if you’re in
a rush to get someplace else, don’t leave your poster behind—
ACS does not assume responsibility for materials left beyond
those time limits.
Presentation times and rules at ACS regional meetings vary
widely, so it’s important to know what time you will be presenting your poster. As a rule of thumb, at ACS national meetings,
once the Undergraduate Research Poster Session begins, authors
who have been assigned even-numbered posters will present
their posters for the first hour of the poster session. Those with
odd-numbered posters present their posters for the second hour.
Make smart use of your spare time. The poster session is a great
time to network with other students who are presenting their
posters and with session visitors, so make it a point to visit other
posters during your free hour.
Making a positive first impression is important, so dress and act
professionally. Wear comfortable shoes — you may be standing
on cement during your presentation time. Show enthusiasm
about your research. You will be talking to viewers who may be
undergraduate or graduate students, faculty, members of industry, or others with an interest in chemistry. Not everyone will be
familiar with your area of research, so before you begin describing your research project, find out what they know about your
research area. Then, try to adapt your presentation accordingly.