How to quickly setup your own academic website

In this post I share how to quickly setup your own academic website, by buying hosting, a domain name, and installing WordPress. As there are many tutorials already on how to do these steps from the technical side (and things might differ between providers), this is more of an overview if you are considering this approach. 

This post does not cover why you should have your own academic website, or why you should pay money for it. Yes, this is not a “how to quickly setup your own website for free” post, but don’t worry, all of this can be done for less than 10 EUR per month. Also, this is not THE only way to setup a website, but this is the way I have done it for several websites in the past, including this one. So, I’m assuming you already decided already you want your own professional website, and you think the website I have is decent 😉

Step 1: Decide on a domain name

Since you are going for a professional website, the best bet is probably some-variation-of-your-name.com. For the name, try your first name (like Felienne at felienne.com), or your whole name, if it is easy to remember (like Noeska at noeskasmit.com). If neither option is possible, you have to be a bit more creative. Whenever I say my last name out loud, I add that “it starts with C-H” in an attempt to remove some confusion. So, that’s why you are now on veronikach.com.

Why .com, you ask, if you are not a company? Yes, .nl is cheaper, and .net is prettier, and you can even get lots of cool alternatives, like .science. But the people who will want to go to your website, will probably type “.com” anyway, so just help them out. You can always register additional domains later 🙂

Step 2: Buy domain name and hosting

Since I’m assuming this is your first own website, you will want to buy both a domain name (around EUR 10 per year) and some hosting. Most hosting providers offer both – I’m currently quite happy with Siteground, where the StartUp package will cost you from 6 EUR per month, Bluehost has some cheaper alternatives. 

When buying a domain name, most hosts will offer you the option to anonymize yourself as the owner of the domain. I did not do this, since it is clear that the website is about myself. However, the data you enter will be visible to people who look up your domain. So I would recommend using your work address/phone number. 

Now, go ahead and proceed with the checkout. After a few steps, you should be the owner of your very own website. Congratulations!

Step 3: Find the administration panel

Once you get an email with all your hosting details, there should be instructions on how to access different options of your hosting package, through a tool like cPanel or DirectAdmin. 

With SiteGround, I just log in with my customer details on their website, and go to the “Websites” tab. Each website has a “cPanel” button next to it. 

Step 4: Install WordPress

CPanel has lots of interesting tools to improve your website, but now we want the WordPress autoinstaller. 

 

 

 

 

 

Here a number of defaults will already be filled in. Most importantly, don’t forget to enter a valid email address, and to store your username (this should NOT be equal to “admin”) and your password in your password manager. 

You can leave the other settings at their defaults and click “ïnstall”!

Step 5: Add some content!

Now your WordPress website should be ready! Login with the username/password you just created and explore the WordPress dashboard. Edit the pages/posts that are already created by default, and you have just setup your very own academic website!

Maybe your website is a bit basic now, but that can change very soon, as WordPress is easy to customize and there are a lot of themes and plugins available that you can install with a few clicks. If you are looking for some inspiration, you might like my other pages about academic websites:

Year in review: 2016 – postdoc year 2

A review of 2016 already, you might wonder? Yes, although I usually write these reviews way too late (see 2015, 2014, 2013…). But Twitter made me want to write about my plans for 2017, so I felt that I first had to get the 2016 review over and done with!

2016 was not a very good year for me. This is mainly for personal reasons, which I prefer not to get into. But thanks to the support of several people, both offline and online, things have been getting better. And despite impaired productivity during the year, some awesome things happened, so I share these below.

Job search

Around the start of the year I received a rejection for the first ever faculty job I applied for. So, 2016 was going to a year of job applications. On paper, I did not apply to many jobs until getting a position, but this issue was on my mind often and I spent a lot of time on it. I was aware that I might not find an academic position, and didn’t have a problem with that. As I was searching online, I also looked at alternatives. But, I gave myself a deadline – 3 months before finishing the postdoc – to start applying for those positions, and concentrated on the academic positions first.

I applied for three faculty positions after that – one in Netherlands and two in the UK. Although I wasn’t offered either of the UK jobs, I was invited for interviews, which already felt like a success. Because of this I think I quite enjoyed the interview process, it was just a new experience that I was learning something from. I also applied for two postdoc fellowships and one travel grant to go to Germany, but was rejected for all three. And as my personal deadline of widening my job search came close, I was offered the position in the Netherlands.

Papers

I had no papers accepted in 2016 related to my postdoc project, which is a bit painful. I submitted two papers to MICCAI, but both were rejected. The idea was to turn them into journal papers, but due to various delays those still have not been submitted yet.

But there were also good news in terms of papers. I had my first paper on crowdsourcing accepted at a MICCAI workshop. I have already collected data for extending this paper, and I can’t wait to get started on the analysis.

Collaborations

I have been collaborating with two PhD students during the year. They both submitted their journal papers about our work, which I think will be accepted in 2017. I very much enjoyed these collaborations and hopefully one of these will continue in 2017 as well.

I was also very lucky to supervise Dylan, a student of game design. He turned the crowdsourcing application I was working on into a game – he tells me a blog post on about this is coming soon 🙂 This project was also very exciting and I really hope it will be possible to continue developing the game in the future.

These collaborations were definitely one of the best parts of the year, and I’m very excited that I got a job where I will get to do this more.

Events

This year I organized two meetings of the Dutch society of Pattern Recognition, with a great turnout each time. I didn’t really attend any conferences. In April I was planning to go to ISBI to present a paper (accepted in 2015), but unfortunately I had to cancel the trip. In October I wanted to go to MICCAI, but I only had funding to go to one of the workshop days. Although I wasn’t there for the conference and spent a lot of time travelling, it was definitely worth it.

I also had the pleasure of visiting amazing people and giving talks in Heidelberg, Copenhagen and Paris.

Little things

Finally, I’d like to mention a few other things that made my year more positive:

  • advice I’ve received regarding my future job
  • the community I found on Twitter
  • thank you messages from people who appreciate this blog

Thank you all – I’m looking forward to more research, conversations and blogging in 2017!

5 apps that improved my productivity in 2016

Less than a year ago, my “How I work” setup only included Gmail, Google Calendar and Wunderlist. After reading Getting Things Done, I started listening to podcasts that focus on productivity, like The 5 AM Miracle and Beyond the To Do List. In the process, I started discovering apps and trying them out. In this post I present the 5 apps that improved my productivity and that are staying in my “How I work” process.

1. Podcast Addict

Of course I used Podcast Addict to listen to the podcasts above. This helped me not only by teaching me things about productivity, but by motivating me to walk more (so that I could listen to the podcasts). Although I was spending more time on getting to places, the exercise + fresh air helped me to focus afterwards.

2. Evernote

OK, I had Evernote before listening to the podcasts, but I didn’t know how to organize it and therefore didn’t use it. One example of how I use it now is for writing these blog posts! I have a stack of five notebooks for this:

My Evernote notebooks for writing blog posts

In “Online: pin or tweet” and “Online: write about” I keep all the articles, threads on Twitter etc that I saved with the Evernote web clipper, and I think might be interesting to share with others. Once I pin, tweet or write, I move the note to “Online: done”. In “Writing: drafts” I keep blog posts ideas, which eventually grow into blog posts. Then I move these to the “Writing: done” notebook.

Given my difficult relationship with blogging and weekly posts for the last two months – a personal record – I’d say it’s working!

3. Streak

Streak is an app that integrates seamlessly with Gmail and has lots of awesome functionality. I use it to (1) achieve inbox zero (2) keep track of your contacts.

For (1), I use Streak to “snooze” emails. This means that I archive the email, but it’s moved to the inbox again at a later date. For example, I snooze emails to register for events. If it’s December, but the event is March, and the deadline to register is in February, I will snooze the email to late January.

For (2), I use Streak to keep track of people I have contacted, or might want to contact at some point. Currently I do this for people who have emailed me with questions about my papers. If I have an important update on the project (for example an error in my code), I can simply send an email to the whole group.

4. Focus @ Will

Focus @ will is a radio you can listen to, but with music (or sounds) that are supposed to help you focus. There are a few channels with different types of music/sound, and you can just press play and pause, or set a timer so that it stops playing after X minutes. I usually use it with the timer, Pomodoro-style. I can’t say if it’s really doing something to my brain or if it’s the placebo effect, but it’s been pretty effective so far!

5. Habitica

Habitica is a habit-tracking app, a bit like a todo list for things you’d like to do regularly, like exercising every day. I tried to create daily tasks for these activities in Wunderlist, but I didn’t like this approach. The main reason was that I didn’t know how to deal with doing the activity more, or less than I am supposed to.

For example, if I missed a day or two of exercising, I had two choices. The first is leaving the tasks unchecked, i.e. doing doubling/tripling the amount of exercise on another day, which is not very realistic. The second is checking the skipped tasks off, which is incorrect. The same goes for doing extra exercise: did that mean I could skip exercise the day after? Not great if you are trying to develop an “exercise every day” habit.

In Habitica, instead of done/not done, you have a character with overall statistics like health. Here’s mine:

And here are some of the habits I’m tracking:

They are all green, because I did them today! By doing habits, the character gains experience and coins. If you don’t do a habit for too long, the character’s health goes down. To be honest I don’t know the details of how this works yet, but I like the layout and the habit-tracking part!

Any other apps?

I like trying out apps, so if you have some that have helped you out, please let me know!

Year in review: 2015 – postdoc year 1

It seems to be a tradition already for me to write my “year in review” posts a year or more after the reviewed year (see the reviews of my first, second, third and fourth years as a PhD student). Today, although 2016 is drawing to a close, I will be reviewing the year 2015, or my first year as a postdoc.

PhD student to postdoc

In January 2015 I started my postdoc at the Biomedical Imaging Group Rotterdam at the Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands. I already knew the group a little bit, and the location was close to where I lived, so it did not feel like a major transition. I also was continuing a project related to my PhD, and my PhD defense was still six months away. So at first, being a postdoc was not all that different from being a PhD student.

What was different, is the fact that I was on a two year contract. I was aware I would need to find my own funding. Besides travel grants, I haven’t obtained any funding (in the Netherlands, PhD positions are fully-funded 4-year contracts), so I wanted to learn more about this. Luckily, my supervisor asked me to help out a colleague from a different department, who was applying for an internal 1-year grant. Unfortunately the grant wasn’t funded, but it gave me useful insights into the grant writing process.

Independence?

Although at the start of 2015 things didn’t feel very different, there were two events in 2015 that made me feel more independent (or perhaps, more like a real grown up).

In March, I moved to Rotterdam, into an apartment which I bought all by myself. By that I mean that I was the only owner, I of course needed to get a mortgage. But the fact that I was “allowed to” buy an apartment, and that a financial institution trusted me with a mortgage, felt pretty awesome.

In June, I defended my PhD thesis! The defense day was amazing and I’m thankful to everybody who joined that day. I first gave a short presentation, featuring my cat Buffy:

After this, I was joined by the committee and answered questions for an hour, which is a tradition in the Netherlands. The first question was actually about cats! Answering it helped me find my confidence and the rest of the hour went well too. After a short deliberation of the committee, I got my diploma and became a Dr!

Grants

While 2013 was a year of writing papers and 2014 a year of revising them, 2015 definitely became a year of writing grants.

In August, I applied for the first “big” grant I applied for as the main applicant. The grant was called “Open Mind” and called for original ideas. I spent a lot of time brainstorming, and made it to the finals. I did not get the grant, but the idea really felt mine, and formed the basis for several other proposals I would write later.

After this, I felt that I might really have a shot at getting my own funding eventually. So I applied for the internal 1-year grant, and for a tenure track fellowship at Delft University of Technology. These were both rejected, and Delft even managed to reject me twice.

Now that I think about it, perhaps applying for all these grants, even without getting them, also contributed to me feeling like a “real researcher”.

What about papers?

In the middle of all the grant writing, I did work a bit on the project I was hired for, although not as much as I should have. From the start I wanted to work on two applications. I submitted a paper on the first application only 2 months into my postdoc, but it was rejected at MICCAI, then rejected at a MICCAI workshop, and then finally accepted at ISBI.

The paper on the second application faced a lot of delays, the first being my attempt to implement a part of the method by myself, rather than use an existing implementation. So, in 2015 I didn’t have anything to submit yet.

There were also good news regarding papers. When my thesis was approved, three papers in it were under review, and these were all accepted before my defense. One of these was a MICCAI paper, which I presented (as a poster) in October in Munich, Germany. I also had a workshop paper on a PhD-related topic accepted, and presented it in Copenhagen, Denmark just a week later.

What else?

There are a few other things on my 2015 list that don’t fit into the categories above. I gave talks about my research and about my career, organized a workshop at ICML, joined the board of the Dutch society of pattern recognition and reviewed a lot papers.

I also went on vacation, which I’ve been doing throughout my PhD as well. According to my 2015 overview, I was away from the office for 4 weeks. Of these, I spent 2 weeks working from time to time (but never full days), and 2 weeks 100% in vacation mode.

Take-aways

I did a lot of things, but too little research. I didn’t follow the 20/80 rule. In other words, I didn’t concentrate on the 20% of tasks, that will bring me 80% of the results in the future: writing papers. But the other 80% were useful in other ways, like contributing to my feeling of independence, so I don’t really have regrets. The three pieces of advice I can extract from this year are:

  • Don’t do too many projects at the same time
  • Fail as fast as possible
  • All (even “unproductive”) experiences are useful

On getting a tenure track position

As I announced a few weeks ago, I am starting as an assistant professor in the Medical Image Analysis group at the Eindhoven University of Technology.

The tweet is a bit of a technical announcement, but it encodes much more than “I have a new job”. Since I’m not good with threads on Twitter, I decided to share a few more feelings about this over here.

1. Excitement

I get to do research and teach and learn from others for the next 5 years! How amazing is that? I have so many ideas, I can’t wait!

2. Relief

I get to have a job for 5 years and don’t have to apply for positions for like, a very long time! I started looking for my next position halfway through my postdoc, which was a job in itself, and did not reflect well on my postdoc project. A few things were not really going well for me in 2016, so the news about the position couldn’t have come at a better time.

3. Fear

I worry they will discover I’m an impostor and they should have hired somebody else. I try to reassure myself by thinking that if I’m an impostor and they are the the real deal, they should have figured out that I was one already. But I also worry about just being able to handle it all.

4. Guilt

As many other researchers are forced out of academia, I feel guilty for “surviving” while having a “good, but not excellent CV” (citing reviews on some of my rejected grant applications). I didn’t have to deal with hundreds of rejections – I applied to four jobs, interviewed for three, and was offered one. Sure, I worked hard, but I think luck and privilege played a big role.

5. Hope

I get to be one step closer to maybe one day being able to change things, just a little bit.

Join me?

Over the past few months I came across profiles of people who recently started, or are starting their new jobs as assistant professors in 2017. I wonder if they are feeling the same things. So I thought, maybe we can start this thing where we meet online once a month or so, and share our experiences as we go? Please get in touch (email me, reply on Twitter or send a direct message) if you want to join.

 

Update 19th December: 

All fields are welcome and you can also join if you like this idea but started before 2017. I imagine we will a structured meeting once a month via Google Hangouts or Skype, and a private group (Google+, Slack?) for discussion in between meetings. I will gather names/emails for 1-2 weeks until we are with 5-10 people, and then I will send out an email with more details.

Defending propositions: where to find inspiration

Colorful trees in autumn in Japan.

This is the fifth post in the propositions series. If you don’t know what I mean by “defending propositions”, you can read the introduction here.

Now that I’ve discussed a few of my propositions (here, here and here), I thought I’d share a bit more about the process of generating ideas for propositions, and give some advice on how to make this process a bit less painful.

Write ALL your ideas down in ONE place

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s very important piece of advice that will make your life easier. I say ALL ideas because the moment you think “could this be something for a proposition?”, you need to capture it. Even if you seconds later realize that probably it’s not, it might give you ideas later in the future. I say ONE place because I kept my ideas in a LateX document, which meant that the writing down only happened when I was using my computer. Of course I made occasional notes on my phone, on a paper I was reading, on beer mats… In many cases I probably forgot that the idea was there. If I had to do it all over again, I would use an app like Evernote.

Find examples

Learning is easier with labelled training data. Find examples of propositions that have been already defended. Unfortunately, like PhD theses, the propositions do not get uploaded to the university library, so they are a bit more difficult to find. A few places to start are:

  • Offices of more senior academics. They accumulate a lot of PhD theses, which, if you are lucky, still contain the loose piece of paper with propositions on them.
  • Blog posts. The best way to start is to look at Project #TweetProp, started by Felienne Hermans. This was continued by a few others, who Eva Langsoght writes about in in this post.
  • Collections of propositions. There are two books (both in Dutch) that I know of: Beste stellingen zijn van hout Paard van Damocles. Although the first book appears to be in stock, I wasn’t able to order it back in 2014, so my guess is that it will be even more difficult now. I did manage to find a copy at the university library though.

Join Twitter

I regret not doing this during my PhD, as Twitter now daily gives me lots of ideas, but it’s never too late to start. You don’t even need to post anything. Just get an account, see who is talking about, for example, #PhDChat, #AcademicSelfcare, #AcademicKindness and follow accounts which shared something you strongly agreed or disagreed with. Soon your timeline will be filled with lots of articles, opinions, memes… you name it!

Think back

Think about advice you received from others, whether it’s in a conversation, email, or maybe a talk you listened to or a book you read (and yes, write it all down). One way to start is to think of a book you liked (it doesn’t need to be advice books, any fiction or non-fiction book will do) and to search for quotes from it on Goodreads. I was really inspired by quotes from Anathem, a fiction novel where one of the major themes is philosophy of science. Since I’m giving advice here anyway, I think reading Anathem might belong to my top 10 “things to do during your PhD” advice.

Get frustrated

Find an (academic) friend, get a coffee or a beer, and talk about all the things that frustrate you. People who only treat you well if they want something from you? Researchers that don’t share their data or code? Reviewers that reject your paper because you reported, you know, ALL the results and not only the best ones? Write them down. Then imagine a utopia in which you can decide how everything in academia gets done. Write that down too.

Relax

Don’t think too hard. Let your mind relax, and it will surprise you when you least expect it (or probably, in the shower).

Defending propositions: curiosity and cats



This is the fourth post in the propositions series. If you don’t know what I mean by “defending propositions”, you can read the introduction here.

The proposition

Today I want to talk a bit my last – and my favorite, proposition:

Lack of curiosity killed the cat

The timeline of my propositions shows I only came up with this one at the last moment. After revising the propositions several times, I was a bit stuck, yet I still needed fresh propositions. To get out of my local minimum, I tried changing up my sources of inspiration. Before I relied mainly on my own notes and examples of others’ propositions. My new strategy was to search for articles on topics like “qualities of a good scientist” in hopes this would trigger new ideas. And it did!

I’m sad to say I no longer can find the original article, but one of the qualities it listed was curiosity. I proceeded to have several lightbulb moments as I was attributing behaviors of different people to (lack of) curiosity. But I knew that a statement like “Curiosity is an essential part of doing research” would not cut it, so I had to dig deeper.

I then thought about the saying, “Curiosity killed the cat”, which implies that curiosity is a negative quality. Wikipedia told me that the entire saying is, in fact, “Curiosity killed the cat, but the satisfaction brought it back”. A bit better, but still not very positive. I then did a Google Scholar search on “curiosity” and “cats”, and, lo and behold, found this 1966 (still paywalled!) paper:

In this study, the researchers compared how “curious” different animal groups were. The researchers placed unknown objects in the animals’ habitats and measured how much the animals interacted with the objects, for example by sniffing them. The responses were the highest for primates and carnivores, which included wild cats. The paper then discusses how animals adapt to their environment, for example if their usual food source runs out. Curiosity – considering whether an unknown object could be an alternative food source – could then make the difference between survival or extinction of a species. It is therefore,

Lack of curiosity killed the cat.

My cat Buffy: "Is this food for me?"
My cat Buffy: “Is this food for me?”

 

Defense

To top it off, this proposition helped me have an awesome PhD defense / viva. The first question asked to me by one of my opponents was to explain the proposition. That was great, because I had prepared a slide with figures from “Curiosity in Zoo Animals” in advance. As I started talking, I felt my confidence growing, and it didn’t go away for the rest of the defense, after which I could call myself Dr. 🙂

9 gift ideas for academics

9 gift ideas for academics | veronikach.com

It’s December! I’m looking at a Christmas tree, drinking glögg and I just received my first gift – a box with food, tea, and a blanket – from my employer. I don’t really exchange a lot of gifts for Christmas, but I know it’s a big thing in other places. I do enjoy coming up with gift ideas, which I know can be difficult, especially now that most people have too much stuff. So this time I thought I’d try a different kind of post, and share a few inexpensive gift ideas for academics!

9 gift ideas for academics | veronikach.com

1. A domain name

Because many universities still treat emails and websites like they did 20 years ago. It’s easy to buy a domain name yourself, and then transfer it to a different owner. Setting up a website is not required – it’s possible to forward the domain name to an existing website, or use it for multiple email addresses. If you are in the Netherlands, I recommend Versio.

2. A paid subscription to a service

Because there are a lot of great services out there. Despite the monthly cost of about 2 cups of coffee, many people are hesitant to pay for apps, and settle for suboptimal solutions instead. Let them experience how helpful these services can be and buy them a paid subscription for Evernote, Dropbox, or Headspace. My most recent subscription is to focus@will.

3. A voucher for a day at the spa

Because we all need this from time to time. I get mine at Treatwell.

4. Getting things done

Because everybody needs to read this book. An updated edition recently came out, so it’s a good gift even for those who read it already. To save trees, get the electronic or audio version.

5. A wireless presenter

Because when I got one as a PhD student, I felt like a real scientist. I like the ones with a built-in timer, but I have this more affordable version:

Gift ideas for academics #5: wireless presenter

6. A snuggie

Because sleeves. Appropriate for Netflix and grading papers.

Gift ideas for academics #6: Snuggie blanket

7. Good tea

Because alcohol and coffee are great gifts too, but we probably are drinking too much of those already.

8. A plant

Because it can cheer up any (office) space.

9. A donation to open science

Because it’s important. A great initiative to donate to is Scihub, but if you don’t pay in bitcoins, you can try Wikipedia instead.

More ideas

If you are looking for more gift ideas for academics, check out my most recent post, and the guides by Tenure She Wrote and Stylish Academic.

Happy holidays!

Defending propositions: an index for reviewers

This is the third post in the propositions series. If you don’t know what I mean by “defending propositions”, you can read the introduction here.

The proposition

I recently wrote about reviewing papers for the first time, and how happy I was when I recently discovered Publons. Publons lets you track your reviewing, essentially making visible all the effort you put into it. Here is an example of a statistic I’ve extracted from my profile:

Example statistic from publons.com
Example statistic from publons.com

This idea resonated with me because of a proposition I defended a year before, and that I will discuss today.

Introducing an r-index for reviewers as a counterpart of the h-index for authors would lead to more, better and timelier reviews.

Supply vs demand

During my PhD I noticed that the supply vs demand for publications was very different than that for reviews. For publications, supply was clearly higher than the demand: many papers would get rejected, and even if accepted, some papers would never be cited. For reviews, however, the story seemed to be the opposite! It could take months to receive reviews for your paper. And when you would finally get the reviews, regardless of the decision, a few would be very short and uninformative.

I wondered whether this discrepancy could be a result of the reward system. A new publication is rewarded by your name on the paper, by citations, and perhaps even increased chances of getting a position. A new review is – to the outside world – at most a line on your CV. Reviewing is something that is expected to be there, but I doubt it has ever been a deciding factor in a hiring decision. Combine that with well-meant advice from colleagues, “say no to everything, just focus on your publications!”, and you’ve got a supply vs demand problem.

Metrics

The h-index is meant to measure the productivity of a researcher. Although it has flaws, it is being used — consciously or perhaps subconsciously — to evaluate quality. As a result, it is something researchers can try to optimize for. And for a higher h-index, you need start with getting more publications. Do you already see where the supply is coming from?

What if there was something similar for reviewing papers? If such a – yet to be defined – reviewer index became an important metric, more people would want to review papers and submit their reviews on time, just as they do with papers.

Quality is a bit more difficult. One way to do this is a system where reviews could be seen and discussed by others. This doesn’t mean that the reviewers’ identity needs to be revealed. See for example the reviewing process of ICLR.

Or maybe we can step away from reviews altogether, as Ludmila Kuncheva proposes
here. (The post also features one of my favorite stories about publishing before the internet). Reviews would simply be replaced by citations. Then maybe we wouldn’t need new metrics, and could just go back to looking at the h-index instead.

5 easy ways to do more with your poster

How can you make your poster stand out at the poster session, if you only have a limited amount of time? There are many tips out there on how to design the poster and how to structure all the information (a couple of resources I like are here and here), and these are the most important things you should be doing! But if you already have a poster ready and can’t afford doing a complete overhaul, here are three ways to make your poster more memorable:

1. Print your poster on fabric

Print your poster on fabric if you don’t already do so. This not only makes travel easier, but also makes it easier for people to approach you and to start a conversation, and that’s what poster sessions are all about.

2. Add a picture of yourself to the poster

Chances are that your poster will be up for a longer period of time than you will actually be there to present. If people see your picture on the poster and then see you later at a conference, there are again more likely to approach you if they have any questions.

Add a picture of yourself next to the contact information on your poster
Add a picture of yourself next to the contact information on your poster. See the full poster here

 

3. Add business cards next to the poster

These days most people have a smartphone and can take a picture of your contact information. But if you do this regularly, you end up with lots of pictures that you might forget to follow up with. Make it easier for people to remember and contact you by giving them an opportunity to take your card! If you do not have cards, you can consider adding print-outs of the poster (or even the full paper) instead.

Add business cards to your poster for easy exchange of contact information
Add business cards to your poster for easy exchange of contact information

 

4. Add a QR code that leads to your website

This is especially helpful if your website has a URL that is difficult to remember. There are many QR code generators out there, such as this one. Remember to save the image in a large size and resize it afterwards for best quality during printing.

5. Promote your poster on social media

If you have Twitter, take a picture of yourself next to the poster and tweet about it using the hashtag of the conference, and include the location of your poster. People are more likely to like an image if it features a face and might decide to stop by for a chat even if they didn’t yet know about your work.

Presenting my poster at the MICCAI LABELS workshop in 2016
Presenting my poster at the MICCAI LABELS workshop in 2016

That’s all the tips I have tried so far while attending conferences. Please share below if these work / do not work for you and if you know any other tips that might be useful. Thanks for reading!

Bonus tip

To leave a lasting impression, glue your PhD thesis to your poster:

%d bloggers like this: