A: A poster session is a plenary session where each speaker is given space to display their work as a poster. During the session, speakers stand with their posters, and the audience circulate freely, seeking out the particular presentations they are interested in and talking directly to the presenter in small groups. For PyCon 2011, we will have a designated plenary poster session and will be providing space for posters 4x4 feet in size. This video will give you an idea of what poster sessions are.
For more examples of poster sessions, go here.
A: First, a good proposal. Poster sessions are intended to give you the chance to present interesting ideas and start conversations with others. Additionally, proposal titles and abstracts are one of the major tools the audience will use to identify posters of interest, so it is important to communicate clearly.
Second, the poster itself. It is important to understand that a poster is neither a paper nor a slideshow. The poster isn't there for the audience to just read, it is a visual aid for you to use in creating a quick engaging impromptu presentation, and to refer to in answering questions and fueling discussion. Use this session as a way to make connections with people that you can continue through the open spaces or informally during the conference.
A: Absolutely! We encourage everyone to submit a poster proposal even if they have also submitted a talk proposal. If both are accepted, we encourage authors to adapt their presentation to make the best use of each venue. Even if a talk proposal can not be accommodated by the program committee, it may still be well suited for a poster presentation.