One kind of presentation that is common in many professions is the poster session. Go to any convention center that is hosting a professional conference and there will surely be a poster session going on in the exhibit hall.
Because students in the minor in Spanish for the Professions at UNC-CH are preparing to use their Spanish language and Hispanic cultures skills in the workplace, they have to present at least once in poster session format.
A professional poster does not require the use of scissors, paste, markers or construction paper. Everything is electronically processed. The posters are large (at least 11 x 17), colorful, contain visual support, and often laminated. Several posters are displayed in various parts of the available space at the same time. The audience members mingle in the exhibit hall and look over the posters, quickly ascertaining which topics presented are of interest to them.
The presenter's job is to:
- engage interested audience members (while being careful not to take any less interested audience members "hostage" by assaulting them with a long, memorized speech)
- ask people who seem interested if they have any questions
- ask a few questions: find out a little bit about what they do that might make your work interesting to them
- be ready to answer very detailed questions about your poster ("how can you justify using that N value?")
- be ready to answer very general questions about your poster ("Tell me about your project.")
In the classroom, the poster session proves to be an interactive and engaging alternative to the traditional memorized presentation delivered to a passive audience--especially if the professor grades the interactions among students (instead of trying to individually interact with each and every presenter).