Professional Poster Construction

Identify Your Audience

There is intense competition for audience members at professional poster sessions. At best, you have 3 seconds to gain your audience's attention and 30 seconds to convey the primary message from your research findings. It is therefore imperative that you know who will be your audience so that you can be most effective in your communication.




Rivals in your field of research will, of course, be attracted to your presentation. In general, however, your primary audience will be colleagues at varying stages of professional development in your discipline. With the increasing interdisciplinary nature of research, you should anticipate that your audience will also include colleagues in related fields that are different from your own. A psychology conference, for example, may be attended by individuals in business, marketing, law, and many other fields. Likewise, a biology conference may be attended by individuals in medicine, neuroscience, ecology, and many other fields.


In order to meet the needs of all of your potential audience members, your poster and your presentation should provide a context for your research. You should also be prepared to provide more in depth explanations of your research question and findings for those attendees with less background knowledge. You will attract the broadest audience if you are able to help attendees understand the real world connection or theoretical significance of your findings. Make your research meaningful for your audience.