Odds and Sods
This page contains a series of practical suggestions and hints, gleaned from my own experiences, anecdotal accounts, and graduate student mythology which has been handed down from one meeting participant to another. If you would like to pass on your own words of wisdom, to be included on this page anonymously (unless I am instructed otherwise), please post me a brief note. Other useful comments & suggestions would be welcomed, too.
Wisdom of the ages:
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- Remember to take the poster to the meeting when you leave home. This is a surprisingly stressful mistake, particularly if you plan to be on the job hunt at the meeting. Do not be the last one to leave for the meeting; know who is leaving after you, so they can bring the poster you left behind (my continued thanks to my personal poster savior, Dr. Alan Humphrey!)
- You have seen the Samsonite luggage commercials - do not entrust the poster to the tender mercies of baggage handlers. In addition to unintentional folds & creases, the poster may take a surprise trip around the world while you attend the meeting.
- It is worth repeating here - make a back up copy of the poster! Remember to include all the necessary data and figures. Since I travel with my laptop anyway, I make sure I've saved a backup to the laptop. Alternatively, save this material to a disk or stick drive and take it with you (or do both, packing the disk in your checked luggage, and keeping the stick drive in your carry-on).
- If you are blessed with having a good support staff, save a copy of the poster, etc. to disk, and leave the disk in an obvious place. Your staff or someone else staying behind may be willing to print a missing graphic and fax it to you, or to work electronic magic and send you a copy of the poster over the Internet. If all else fails, use a respected overnight courier service.
- A Queen-sized bed is useful size for laying out posters. Do not, however, leave the poster materials on the bed if the hotel has zealous housekeeping staff. You can even use the bed for last minute poster assembly, but be forewarned - the residue of spray adhesive is even less fun than sleeping in cracker crumbs.
- Before you leave for the meeting, set the poster up and look at it critically. Is it all there? Are all the words in the title spelled properly?
- While it is set up, use a push pin to make holes in the upper corners of each section of the poster components. Hanging the poster can be one of the more difficult and frustrating aspects of poster sessions, and this will to make hanging the poster a bit easier.
- Pack a set of extra push pins (I prefer the more sturdy 'T'-pins but not all airport security officials will allow 'T'-pins in carry-on luggage)
- When you dismantle the poster, turn the introduction section over and make a pencil sketch of the assembled poster, numbering each section. Then write the numbers on the backs of the corresponding poster sections. Now someone else can hang your poster if you can not be there.
- Alternatively, hang the poster before you leave and take a digital photo of the entire poster and then separate photos of each panel (Thanks to Nina Solta for this suggestion). Print the photos, and/or save them to disk or stick. They can be very helpful in recreating a lost poster, or for having a friend hang the poster in the proper sequence after you break your leg walking on the cobblestones outside the convention cneter (yes, I do know someone who lived through that experience!).
- Use brown wrapping paper to bundle together the parts for each poster. This keeps it clean and, if you carry more than one poster with you to the meeting, the parts of different posters will not become mixed together.
- Label the wrapped poster with your name, the hotel address & telephone number, your room number (especially if the room is not registered in your name), and the poster session number. A lost poster with a label like this may find its way back to you more quickly, maybe even in time for your session.
- Take a roll of double-stick tape with you to the meeting, to re-attach any loose parts of the poster.
- Take a travel alarm clock with you. If you will be presenting in a morning session, take special care to set the alarm the night before. It also doesn't hurt to ask for a wake-up call as a backup. Don't rely on your cell phone - it may automatically update to the local time, but Murphy's Law pretty much guarantees the battery will die before the alarm goes off!
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