Her experiences parallel mine, which is to say, the average scientific meeting shows that there is a lot of room for improvement in poster expertise:
My daughter, a PR major, also attended the meeting. She was, frankly, appalled by the presentation skills (or lack thereof) demonstrated at the sessions.
I will comment on one piece of advice she gives:
First of all, dress professionally. This means some sort of suit-like outfit.
My experience is that scientists are almost immune to snappy outfits. This is more true in some fields than others, though. Medical researchers – like you would find at the American Diabetes Association meeting – tend to dress this way. Field biologists tend to be blue jeans kind of people. I’m not going to claim nobody cares, because some do, but most scientists are all about the ideas and data you have, and forget how you’re dressed about 10 second in.
I suggest dressing so that you feel confident and comfortable.
Some people want the “power suit” when they present. That’s what makes them feel confident.
Me? I don’t own a suit or a tie. It would be a disaster if I were to try to present in them. I would be fidgeting and self-conscious the whole time.
It’s like the advice most people get to the question, “How do I get her / him to like me?” when they start dating: “Just be yourself.”