Poster/Flashtalk Guidelines

Abstract submission is now closed.

Flash Talk Instructions:

A new feature at this year's ClostPath meeting is a "Flash Talk" competition. During the abstract selection process the Scientific Committee nominated certain abstracts from trainees (students and postdoctoral fellows) to participate in this competition. For the poster presenters who were selected to give a Flash Talk, they will give a three-minute presentation in a session just prior to the poster session that day. This talk will serve as an "advertisement" for their poster.

This is based on the popular 3 Minute Thesis competition that was developed originally at the University of Queensland, Australia ( and has spread worldwide. In the business world the idea of giving an "elevator speech" is common. The goal is to rapidly pitch an idea to an audience or individual in a limited amount of time and with limited or no visual aids such as PowerPoint slides. This sort of competition has been utilized effectively at a number of recent international scientific meetings and will hopefully represent a fun and exciting addition to this year's ClostPath.

The rules for the Flash Talk competition are as follows:

·       The presenter has exactly 3 minutes to present their talk. The timer will not allow any additional time once three minutes have expired.

·       All slides will be preloaded onto the presentation computer and the timer will start as soon as the first slide appears on the screen.

·       Up to three PowerPoint slides are allowed. No sound is permitted nor are animations/segmentations allowed. A video can be shown but this will count as one slide. Presentation formatting should be set for a 16:9 ratio.

While up to three slides are allowed, it is interesting to note that the original three-minute thesis competition allowed only a single slide. As you can see from the videos below these were not even data slides but were a "visual aid" to provide a striking image for the talk. These were actually talks from competition winners.

The NIH had a similar competition and the following video shows one of the winner’s talks. In this case the slides did show data but the presenter didn't spend time pointing at the data on the figure it was again a visual aid that supplemented the speaker’s oral presentation.

We intend for this to be an enjoyable and educational experience for our trainees. Communication is an essential part of any scientist’s job. Being able to concisely express the core of your work and excite the listener to want to find out more is a valuable skill throughout your career.

The following websites have some information and hints about these three-minute talks.

Some final hints specific for the ClostPath Flash Talk Competition.

·       Since at least some members of the audience will be very familiar with the topic area, limit your introductory comments to that which you think is absolutely essential.

·       There will be a slide up prior to your presentation that will have your name, affiliation, mentor and any acknowledgements (e.g. funding). Therefore, you can save time and space by not having this in your main presentation.

·       Try to avoid having to point to any elements on your slide. While practicing your talk, if you find yourself turning around and pointing at the slides consider reformatting them so that you don't feel that you don’t turn your back on the audience.

·       Practice, practice, practice to make sure that you can come in under three minutes without having to feel rushed.

·       Remember that one of the goals is to generate more traffic at your poster so don't feel like you have to cover everything in the three minutes. Pick one key point you want to make and folks can fill in extra details when they come to your poster.

·       Relax and have fun!

Poster Display Guidelines:

  • Maximum size is 3 ft. wide x 4 ft. tall (0.9 m. x 1.2 m.)
  • Oversized posters cannot be accommodated.
  • Poster Board and push pins will be provided at the meeting.
  • Poster Boards

Suggestions for Creating a Successful Scientific Poster

  • Cloth and vinyl posters can be folded and placed in luggage.
  • Text and figures legible 3-5 feet away. Sans Serif fonts are more legible from a distance.
  • Avoid excessive text and organize text using bullet points.
  • Light background with dark colored text is easier to read.
  • Visual aids and graphics appropriate to information you are presenting.
  • Graphics should be high resolution.
  • Consider including a QR code to link to further information about your research.

Suggestions for Parts of a Scientific Poster

  • Title, Authors and Affiliations
  • Introduction
  • Materials and Methods
  • Results
  • Conclusions
  • References
  • Acknowledgments
  • Contact Information

Printing Your Poster

  • Printer should specialize in or have knowledge about printing scientific posters.
  • It is recommended that you bring your poster as a carry on, packed in your luggage, to avoid loss or shipping delays.