As I said before (https://web.archive.org/web/20120611092256/http://network.nature.com/blogs/user/mfenner/2008/03/01/are-posters-worth-the-effort?) on this blog, I do like poster sessions. The poster sessions at the just finished American Society of Clinical Oncology (https://web.archive.org/web/20120611092256/http://www.asco.org/?) meeting didn't offer food and drink, but were otherwise very enjoyable. The meeting is probably special because a lot of high quality research will be presented as poster, as there is just not enough time for enough oral sessions. Many of the poster presenters were senior faculty. I also like the printouts that were available from most posters – but there still was a lot of picture taking with digital cameras. A very good feature was the oral summary of some of the poster sessions: 15 minute presentations of 5-10 posters, summarized and commented on by an expert in the field.
I had some very informative discussions with a number of poster presenters. When you are familiar with the research topic it is often possible to go straight to the interesting issues, the nonlinear and interactive format of a poster is then often better than an oral presentation. The downside of a poster presentation is obviously that the format is good for presenting to a small audience only. But the poster presenter will usually get much more feedback than from an oral presentation.