After several months of researching, writing, revising, and editing your graduate project, it’s now time to prepare for the dissertation oral defense. This is the last step on your way towards earning either a master’s or PhD in your specific field, and it can be the cause of quite a bit of stress. Whether you have problems speaking in public or you don’t know what it is that is expected from you, it’s a good idea to consider the following tips to help you get passed this final requirement:
#1) Preparing Slides and Your Speech Take Time Start Early
One of the biggest mistakes one can possibly make this late in the game is waiting until the last minute to prepare the presentation slides and speech. These things take time to get done right and the longer you give yourself to review the content contained in each, the better your defense will be.
#2) Attend a Few of Your Classmates’ Defense Presentations
It’s a good idea to get the hang of what you can come to expect in one of these presentations. Try not to schedule your own defense until after a few of your classmates have already fielded dissertation defense questions in their presentations. Get a feel for the kinds of questions you can expect in person.
#3) Ask Some of Your Classmates to Throw Questions at You
Prepare, prepare, prepare. This should be the mantra by which you live by when getting ready for your defense of dissertation. And a simple but effective way of doing this is to ask your classmates to draw up some original questions for you to answer. Make sure you provide them with a copy of your dissertation so that they know what questions to surprise you with.
#4) Practice Your Full Presentation Alone in Front of a Mirror
Finally, don’t hesitate to practice your full presentation alone and in front of a mirror. This strategy has long been used in speech preparation by students and professionals alike. It’s a great way of working on any kinks you might notice in your delivery, as well as honing your body language skills before the real thing.
Remember, the dissertation defense marks the final step in your long academic journey and is often seen is the first stepping stone of your professional career. You’ve dedicated a lot of hours in researching and writing, so now is not the time to slack off and approach the presentation as a sort of afterthought. If you have the time and money to hire professional help, I encourage you to do so. There are many great services out there that are designed to provide and specialize in this kind of work to students. So consider all of your options before trying to go it alone.