Under Attack: What to do when your poster is under fire #AGU11

I by no means am offering solutions to this. Instead I hope readers in the comments will help out by posting their past experiences with this situation and detailing how they’ve handled it. That said, I need your help to make this post work! First, my poster experience.

My poster session at #AGU11 went really well. I was at my poster for the full four hours and never got a chance to leave. I was talking the whole time and getting great, positive feedback on my research, and some ideas of where to take it further. 
One gentleman did attack my work. The primary discrepancy came in the fact that he disagreed with outcrop features that I had interpreted as being cross-cutting. He had not personally been to the outcrop, but it was difficult to continue the discussion into the more interesting parts of my research because he would continually cut me off with “that’s not cross cutting.” Basic outcrop information that I had gotten across to everyone before (and after) was not getting to him. I must say it caught me off guard. This was my first time presenting a poster, and I was not sure how to handle this situation. I did my best to have a discussion with him, but it was very frustrating. 
Overall my first poster presentation was a positive experience, and it reignited my drive to finish my #SciWrite manuscript.
So please, readers and fellow GeoBloggers, if you (and/or research) has been attacked at a poster session please post the story and your insights in the comments section!

3 thoughts on “Under Attack: What to do when your poster is under fire #AGU11

  1. Hi – I found this post through twitter & #AGU11 tag, and just wanted to share my .02. I think its pretty common to have some disagreement at a poster – in the same way you might get push-back from a reviewer on a paper. It can be unnerving, but I actually think its one of the best things about giving a poster: you get a sneak peek at potential criticisms so you can preemptively address them when you go to write up the work. As for how to handle this kind of situation, I would just listen to what he has to say and ask a question or two. You might learn something, but more importantly it diffuses the situation. There’s no reason to engage or push your point – just be polite, remember his name (good to know who’s who), and he’ll move on to the next poster soon enough…

  2. This has happened to me. Ask the person if you can meet or talk at a different time to discuss problematic points in detail. This serves a dual purpose: it keeps things civil at the poster session and allows both parties to hash out differences in detail with the required proof and scientific exchange. If they’re unwilling, you know they’re full of it and simply trying to cause an egoistic scene to draw attention to themselves.

  3. Hey, don’t see this as an attack. It’s a good opportunity to find out what is not sufficiently clear in your presentation. While it’s not likely that 100% of people will agree with any piece of work, it’s key to find out what is confusing or misleading to some people, and incorporate that knowledge into your next poster or paper.

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