Define your message: consider the alternatives

Diagram of good poster with clear message Diagram of good poster with no message
Do this ...

Be bold and be explicit!

... not this

Hedge wherever you can.

  • If you have an interesting result, then state it explicitly in the title: Water Temperature Affects Flounder Growth Rates
  • Make the title as non-committal (and boring) as possible: The Effect Water Temperature on Flounder Growth Rates
  • Make the strongest statements your data will support. Why soft-peddle exciting findings? "Substance X is essential to apoptosis in Y cells."
  • Avoid committing yourself to any strong statement: "Antibody to X abolishes the response." Add qualifying words in abundance, such as: probably, perhaps, may, might.
  • Interpret your findings in the conclusion - what do they mean?? "Greenways must be wider to support forest interior birds." (Of course, your results must support such a statement.)
  • In the conclusion section, instead of interpreting your data, merely repeat the results - then say further study is required. "The effect of greenway width on forest interior birds needs further study." Since virtually everything needs further study, you can't be faulted.