Posters and Oral presentations

I am not here today to talk to you about how to make a poster or an oral presentation. Honestly I like clean posters, not a lot of writing, just enough so the people can have info but not too much that they are not listening to you, and the same applies for an oral presentation. But since at the end of the day this is such a personal thing, I didn't want to dedicate this post to that.

What I wanted to talk about is something I see a lot around me and that is people dismissing the opportunity to present their results for any number of reasons that are not related to preventing scooping. Not only that, but sometimes when people don't get and oral they actually complaint about "just" having a poster.

In my opinion, having the opportunity to share your research, either by poster or with a full talk, is something you should always be happy to have. I personally like doing posters a bit more, just because I panic easily with a big public, but also there is the fact that you can have a better interaction with people and I've had great recommendations through this. Often the time allocated to questions during an oral is taken over by the talk itself and unless the person approaches you afterwards a great question/suggestion will be lost.

You might think that your research is "all that" and that you are only worth a talk, that a poster is beneath you (I have actually heard this guys, talk about ego) but the thing is that either you didn't presented it that well on your abstract or the simply the scope of the congress might be directed on a different direction and your project doesn't fit it entirely. 

Sure, a talk is supposed to have a bit more weight on your CV, but that shouldn't be the only reason you want to share your data. If you can't make it to a talk, make a poster that will knock their socks off and get the people talking!. I've been to congresses with very memorable posters, let me tell you.

There is only one reason I've heard for saying no to a talk that I've think could, maybe, be valid and that was that the person didn't feel 100% comfortable with her English. Now, as a person whose mother tongue is not English I can understand the fear that sometimes encompass presenting your data, or in general, having a big conversation in another language. But I also know that the only way to improve on that is practicing. I've taken talks to force me work on my scientific language and personally I think it has worked. However, if you really feel like is too much, then go for a poster! Just don't cross the opportunity altogether.

My point is that either type of presentation is a plus. As a scientist you should work on your communication skills and you should always be ready to present/defend your project. Get yourself out there, make beautiful and interesting presentations, either on a poster or through a talk! Don't let opportunities to put your research out there pass by.

Happy Holidays and in the meantime, keep working on good science ;)

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