Last year, after 15 years of benefiting from the SAS community, I thought it was time to give a little something back. So I decided to write a paper on two technologies I have a healthy interest in: SAS and Hadoop. My paper SASReduce: an implementation of MapReduce using BASE/SAS was quite a niche topic and thus made an ideal candidate for an e-poster.
The e-poster is a new format introduced at the SAS Global Forum 2014, replacing the traditional paper poster format of past years. The format of the e-poster is a bit more informal than the traditional presentation and is ideal for the first time presenter.
Are you considering a topic that works well in an interactive format? There are lots of presentation formats available for SAS Global Forum 2015. Don’t forget the call for content deadline is October 21.
Having developed and presented an e-poster, I thought I'd share some observations about my favourite session type:
Be bold and brave with your visuals. Your e-poster will be available for viewing for the duration of the conference so best to make it memorable. Some of the best e-posters at the conference contained images, animations and sounds, all of which attracted the attention of passers-by. The benefit of the e-poster format is that it allows you to be a bit more creative. SAS provides guidelines for designing e-posters, so use these to your advantage.
Have a memorable title. Having a memorable title for your poster goes hand in hand with having good visuals. You'll be sharing a screen with four to five other e-posters navigated via a hyperlinked homepage, so a memorable title will be sure to raise the interest of curious SAS users.
Polish your presentation style. Think about how you'd like to put your knowledge and experience across for your e-poster. If it's your first time presenting, see how other people present their e-posters. Speak to other presenters and ask for tips. SAS users are friendly folk. The size of your crowd may also dictate how you end up presenting your topic. Some e-posters were presented to individuals as they visited the stands so a one-to-one format was more appropriate. For my topic a healthy crowd gathered making a more formal presentation style more appropriate to get the content across to all visitors in the 30-minutes allotted.
Attend the pre-conference check. As an e-poster presenter you'll get chance to review your content before it is made available for all conference attendees to see. Use this time wisely and check how your content has transitioned from your home computer to the big screen. My content required small tweaks to display correctly on the large screen. Other e-posters presenters also experienced issues with animations not working correctly, so using the pre-conference time to check your e-poster is time well spent.
You're not required to write a full paper. This was a surprise for me! When speaking to other e-poster presenters I learnt that not all people wrote a paper to support their e-poster. Having written a 17-page document to support my content, this came somewhat as a shock. In hindsight, not requiring a formal paper makes sense. Because e-posters are more informal and intended to grab attention, the need to write a full paper may not be necessary as long as you can just talk about content. This brings me onto my final point.
Know your topic inside-out. Perhaps this is the most important recommendation of all. This not only helps with how you put your message across to visitors to your stand, but also can help you keep within the allotted 30-minute time frame, as you can pace your content. SAS users are well informed and curious folk who will ask you questions whilst at your stand, during the conference and even sometimes post conference via email. So be prepared! Being confident in your topic will also help settle any nerves you may have if it's your first time talking to delegates about your e-poster.
If you're considering submitting content for SAS Global Forum 2015 and you think you may need a little helping hand, I'd also recommend making use of the Presenter Mentor Program. I used the Presenter Mentor program for this year’s SAS Global Forum and found the service extremely helpful. Look for this topic in a subsequent blog.
Until next time, get typing and put your ideas down for an e-poster. It’s a fun introduction to presenting at a SAS Global Forum.