Making the Most of Poster Sessions

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Nathan A. Pennell, MD, PhD, an Associate Professor and Director of the Lung Cancer Medical Oncology Program at the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute and a Poster Walk leader at the 2015 ASCO Annual Meeting, offers advice for anyone planning to attend a Poster Session:

  • Plan ahead. Make sure you go through the Meeting Program ahead of time and mark the posters you are really interested in so you can be sure not to miss them among the hundreds of others there.
  • Download a barcode/QR code scanning app. Many posters will have a barcode on them to allow viewers to access the PDF of the poster with their smartphone. I use ScanLife, which is free, but there are many others available. Most posters are also available for viewing on ASCO’s Virtual Meeting.
  • Go early. If you want to meet the presenter, often a major person in your field of interest, you should be there in the first hour, as that person may wander off to see the posters for him or herself.
  • Don’t be shy. Walk right up and introduce yourself, and feel free to ask presenters to explain their poster to you. Most get bored from standing in one spot while people stare at their poster without speaking and would welcome the chance to explain their findings.
  • Make connections. If someone else is working on the same thing you are, chances are they are looking for someone to talk with and possibly even collaborate. Remember that during most of the year these people are among their own local circle of colleagues, and they are likely the only ones there who do what they do. Poster Walks present an opportunity to expand that circle.
  • Network, network, network. If you are looking for a new job or are interested in working for a particular institution, think ahead about where you might want to go, and find someone from that center who is presenting. Blind job inquiry emails can be intimidating, but following up on a conversation from a meeting is just strengthening a relationship. Carry business cards with your accurate contact information on them. ■

Originally printed in the Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium Daily News. © American Society of Clinical Oncology. “Make the Most of the Poster Sessions.” October 5, 2015. All rights reserved. 




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