Many informal surveys have asked whether people like to give talks or posters, and talks are clear winner. I wanted to know, though, if the proportions for listening to a presentation were any different. So back in May, I started a poll on this (now removed). These are the results (click to enlarge):
Because this is a poster blog, you might think that posters would be favoured more here than in other polls, but no! Even the readers of this blog tend to prefer giving talks by almost a 2 to 1 margin. I don't know why, but I sort of expected posters might do better when people were on the receiving end of the information, because of the chance to talk to the presenter personally, ask more questions, have more interaction.
Nope. The proportion of people favouring posters actually dropped from about a third to about a quarter.
It’s sad that this form of communication is so common in academia when most people would rather give a talk. Perhaps this is more evidence that conference organizers need to be bolder and more daring in structuring their meetings, and not just following the format that other conferences do.