Guidelines and Best Practices for Poster, ePoster and Oral Presentations

Follow these presentation guidelines to have a successful presentation experience.

Judges will use the ABRCMS 2023 Rubric to determine student presenters’ scores. Presenters should carefully review the rubric to know what the judges are looking for.

Previous ABRCMS presentation awardees and Master’s students are ineligible to receive awards.

Guidelines for Poster Presentations

Poster Policy

The only items allowed to adhere to the poster board are the poster and poster number. No other visuals are permitted. All images used within a poster must add to the scientific discussion. Apart from the university and funding agency logo, non-scientific images are not allowed. In addition, no computers or other aids may be used. Failure to abide by this policy will disqualify the presenter from receiving a presentation award.

Designing your poster

  • The poster board provided is approximately 4' high x 8' wide. Your poster presentation must fit within 4' high X 8' wide. Most posters range from 36'' to 96'' in length X 24'' to 48'' in width.
  • Lay your poster sections in a logical order so that other scientists can follow your presentation. A good method is setting up your poster in a column format so that individuals interested can read your poster, 1st vertical, then top to bottom, and then left to right. Be sure to have adequate white space and avoid clutter.
  • Use a type size that can be read easily from a considerable distance (4 feet or more). The title should be larger than the rest of the text. Use a legible sans serif font such as Arial or Helvetica. To accommodate those with low vision, use the following font sizes:
    • Poster titles: 158-point font (minimum: 72),
    • Section headers: 56-point font (minimum: 46),
    • Body text: 36 point-font (minimum: 24)
  • Posters should stimulate discussion, not give a long presentation. Therefore, keep text to a minimum, emphasize graphics, and make sure every item in your poster is necessary.
  • When selecting colors to use for your poster, keep in mind that not everyone sees color the same way. Use colors that are high contrast (ie dark blue and white; white and black) and can be distinguished by those with colorblindness. This is a helpful tool to determine if your color palette is accessible to those who are colorblind.

Preparing for the conference

  • Hand-carry your poster to the meeting, using tubular packaging or a portfolio case. Do not mail your poster to the conference headquarters or to the meeting site.
  • Come prepared with any relevant handouts you may wish to share and business cards to hand out.
  • Be sure to bring pushpins, thumbtacks or velcro to mount your poster. They will not be provided to you at the conference.

Presenting your poster

  • No computers or extra aids may be used during a poster presentation.
  • Keep your poster presentation to about 5-8 minutes per visitor/judge and allow an additional 5 minutes for questions and answers.
  • Try not to stand directly in front of your poster, allow other scientists to view the entire poster. Stand to the side.
Guidelines for Oral Presentations

Preparing your PowerPoint

  • All PowerPoint presentations must have 16:9 dimensions (full aspect ratio).
    • To ensure your PowerPoint presentation has the correct dimensions, open PowerPoint and click on the "Design" tab. Then select "Page Setup" and click the drop-down for "Slides sized for" and select "On-screen Show (16:9)." Click "Ok" to save the changes.
  • Sans serif type is typically more clean and legible (Arial or Geneva).
  • Upper and lower case lettering is more legible than all capital letters. 
  • Graphics you project on the screen to support the spoken word should help clarify ideas, emphasize key points, show relationships, and provide the visual information your audience needs to understand your message.
  • Make sure the type is large enough to see in the size room you will use (room used at ABRCMS seats about 100). A minimum of size 28 font is recommended. 
  • Simple graphs, charts and diagrams are much more meaningful to an audience than complex, cluttered ones. Keep visuals CLEAR and SIMPLE.
  • Use a minimum of words for text and title frames. Five to eight lines per slide and five to seven words per line are the maximum - less is better. 
  • Vary the size of lettering to emphasize headings and subheadings - but avoid using more than three font sizes per slide. 
  • Try to maintain the same or similar type size from slide to slide - even if some slides have less information.
  • Each slide should have a title.
  • Title of any data slide should be the conclusion reached from the presented material.
  • Use the format that matches the material you are presenting. Use a table for exact values, a graph to show relationships, a figure for a picture, and a chart for a process or sequence. Label everything.
  • Keep the color scheme consistent throughout your presentation. Changing colors and type styles can be very confusing and distract from your message. 
  • A good rule of thumb: use a dark background color with a lighter color for text and graphics. Avoid intensely bright or saturated colors that compete with the text. You can never go wrong with black on white or white on dark blue. 
  • The background should be just a background. It shouldn't call attention to itself or cause clutter or confusion.

Giving your talk

  • All ABRCMS oral presentations will be given 10 minutes for the presentation and 5 minutes for questions and answers. Laser pointers will not be available, you must bring your own if you would like to use one.
  • Check each slide in a similar room with similar equipment before your presentation. (ABRCMS rooms will be equipped with a computer and LCD project).
  • Describe images and charts for those with low or no vision.
  • Prepare for questions and answers. 
  • When asked a question during your presentation, repeat the question so that the entire audience knows what the question is.
  • Keep to the allotted time. A moderator will politely interrupt if you go over the time limit.
Guidelines for Virtual ePoster Presentations

The ePoster PDF must be uploaded by 11:59 pm PT on Nov. 6. No exceptions will be made.

Designing your ePoster

  • Your ePoster can be any size, but it is typically similar to a printed poster with the dimensions 36'' to 96'' in length X 24'' to 48''in width. Remember you are creating the ePoster the same way you are creating a poster for an on-site event, you simply aren't printing it.
  • Please refer to the guidelines listed in the Poster "Designing your Poster”. With an ePoster it is also important to keep in mind the following:
    • Attendees will be zooming in and out of your ePoster. Use a type size that can be easily read without attendees having to zoom in so far that they get lost on your poster. In addition, make sure your images are high resolution.
    • Consider making your PDF file accessible to those who use screen readers.

Presenting Your ePoster

  • Log in to the ePoster platform, FourWaves, 15 minutes before the start of your ePoster session to ensure your technologies are working. Live technical support will be available.
  • Navigate to your ePoster presentation and click on the button that says “Join Conversation.” This will take you to your own video conversation room. Up to 12 individuals can join via camera. Up to 200 can listen in on the presentation. During your ePoster session, 3 judges will visit your ePoster and other conference attendees may visit as well.
  • You should be prepared to give a 5-8 minute talk and an additional 5 minutes for questions per judge/visitor.



ABRCMS presenters are encouraged to make sure their presentation is accessible to all. In addition to taking into consideration the tips mentioned above, more resources can be found below:

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