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APS meetings provide opportunities to learn about current research, make great connections with students, mentors, and even potential employers. By presenting your research at an APS meeting, you are making a valuable contributions to the scientific community and participating in an important dialog with colleagues.
The APS March and April meeting scientific programs are made up of parallel sessions that include both oral and poster research presentations. There are advantages and disadvantages for each.
Oral sessions consist of a series of individual talks that are twelve minutes in duration. An oral presentation has the following characteristics:
Advantages of oral presentations:
Disadvantages of oral presentations:
Poster sessions typically take place in large time blocks, usually in the afternoon. Speakers are expected to be available with their posters and to speak about their research for the duration of the session. Poster presentations have the following characteristics:
Advantages of poster sessions:
Disadvantages of poster sessions:
Undergraduates have the option of presenting in a general session or an undergraduate-only session. There are a number of factors to consider when deciding what type of session to present in. Either choice represents an important opportunity for professional development, so decide based on your personal and professional goals.
Advantages of speaking in an undergrad only session:
Disadvantages of speaking in an undergrad session:
Abstracts for undergrad-only sessions must be submitted under the "Undergraduate Research (APS/SPS)" sorting category.
Dress in a Way that Makes You Feel Confident
You may notice that some attendees choose to dress more professionally while others dress more casually. How you present yourself is your choice. Our only advice is to be mindful of how you want to appear to other attendees and decide what to wear based on your own preference. If presenting virtually with your video on, it can help to take a quick look around before the presentation and minimize distractions in your background. You can also choose to use a virtual background.
Understand the Mechanics of the Session
Oral presentations run under a very tight schedule, so it's important that you are able to load and display your slides in a timely manner when it is your turn to speak. Read through the APS AV policies to ensure you have the correct equipment before you head to the meeting. Every meeting, including virtual ones, provides a Speaker Ready Room, which you can use to familiarize yourself with the setup and do a practice run.
Logistics for Oral Presenters
Practice Your Presentation
Take time to practice your talk before your presentation. Session chairs must keep a tight schedule, so be sure to time yourself. Run through your presentation and anticipate possible questions. For a poster presentation, have a shorter (~2-4 min) version and a longer (~5-10 min) version of your talk ready, and you can also think about how you would tailor your presentation differently to different audiences, e.g. expert vs. non-expert.
Watch This Webinar
Advice and techniques on improving your oral and poster research presentations.
Webinar: Improving Your Undergraduate Research Presentation
Attend Your Session
Come early and introduce yourself to the session chair. It is polite to attend the entire session, so be attentive from the first talk to the last. If something prevents you from staying for the full session, be sure to see at least one speaker before your scheduled talk.