13 Tips to Succeed in Your PhD Dissertation Defense

How well do you know your project? Are you ready for your PhD dissertation defense? For several years, you have conducted experiments, analyzed the results of these experiments, and conducted thousands of studies on your thesis to reach this level of knowledge about your research thesis. Defending your PhD dissertation is the last step of your doctoral studies. Researchers often wonder how they can excel at their thesis defense, and therefore, spend countless hours trying to create this edge over their peers. It takes days, weeks, months, and possibly years of effort to complete your doctorate and surpass the dissertation defense hurdle.

In this DoNotEdit article, we point out the details of how to excel at PhD dissertation defense and list down some interesting tips to prepare for and succeed in your thesis defense meeting.

1. Start Preparation for Your PhD Dissertation Defense Early

Thesis defense is not a 3- or 6-month exercise. Don’t wait until you’ve completed all of your research objectives. Start preparation for your thesis defense as early as possible and make sure you understand all the intricacies of your thesis and the reasons for all the research experiments you have conducted.

2. Attend Other Researchers’ Presentations

Participate in open dissertation presentations at your university. You can also attend open dissertation presentations at other universities too. First, it will help you realize that defending your thesis is not a scary process. Second, you will learn tips and tricks from other researchers on how to defend your thesis. Finally, you will understand why the thesis defense is necessary for the university as well as the scientific community.

3. Spend Enough Time to Prepare the Slides

Dissertation defense process is more difficult than submitting the thesis before the deadline. Ideally, you can start preparing the slides after you have finalized your thesis. Spend more time preparing the slides. Make sure you include the right data on the slides and restate your conclusions to create a logical flow for your presentation.

4. Spend Enough Time to Design Structure of Presentation

Take enough time to create a structured presentation. Additionally, create high-quality slides that will impress committee members. Create slides that grab your audience’s attention. Design the presentation completely and accurately and use smart software to create better slides.

5. Practice Breathing Techniques

If you watch a few TED-talk videos, you will notice that the speakers are very fluent in their speech. In fact, you won’t notice their breathing or shortness of breath. The only reason behind the speaking skills of these speakers is the practice of breathing techniques.

In addition, every speaker knows how to control his breath. Long and steady breaths are very important. Pay attention to your breathing and slow it down. All you need before this moment is a little practice.

6. Create an Impressive Introduction

The audience expects a lot from you to draw their attention to your thesis topic, so your opening statement should captivate the audience. Additionally, your thesis must impress the members of the thesis committee. They should be excited about your thesis and how you present your information about it.

The introduction answers the most important questions, most importantly “Is this presentation worth my time?” Therefore, it is important to make a good first impression, as the tone of your presentation in the first few minutes will set the tone for the audience throughout the presentation.

7. Make a List of Questions about Your Thesis

While preparing for the presentation, write down all the questions that you can ask yourself about your doctoral thesis. Try to write down all the questions from the thesis reader’s point of view on a sheet and answer them. Pretend you don’t know the topic of the thesis and think of questions that can help you understand the topic better.

The list of questions will prepare you for the questions the members may pose while trying to understand your research. Attending other candidates’ open discussions will also help you assume the dissertation defense questions.

8. Practice Speech and Body Language

After you have successfully prepared your slides and exercised, you can start focusing on how you look while presenting your thesis. This exercise is not for your appearance but to know your body language and practice being relaxed while presenting your thesis.

Pay attention to your body language. Stand up straight, but relax your shoulders. Correct posture helps to boost your self-confidence. So, look at yourself in the mirror and pay attention to the movements you make.

9. Fictitious Presentation

Recreate your thesis defense session as a test. Your mock defense will be very similar to your real defense and you will gain experience with real defense.

10. Learn How to Deal with Your Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes. However, it’s important to keep going. Do not let your mistakes in the defense session affect the entire thesis defense session. Take a deep breath and continue to defend your thesis.

11. Control Your Nerves during Presentation

If you are nervous on the day of the defense, you may try to finish the presentation faster. Finishing the presentation faster will make you more anxious, and therefore, you may talk too fast and skip important details. Ultimately, being nervous on the defense day will result in failing your thesis defense.

12. Get Enough Rest

Among the tips for preparing for the defense of the thesis, sufficient disclosure is extremely important. Obviously, it’s hard to sleep the day before this big event, but you need to focus and go to bed early. You need to get the rest you deserve.

13. Visualize Yourself Defending Your Thesis

This simple exercise has a big impact on your self-confidence. All you have to do is to visualize yourself giving a successful speech. Every day, until the day of the defense of the thesis, imagine yourself in front of the audience as you are giving a speech and going from one point to another. This exercise takes a lot of commitment and persistence, but the results in the end pay off. Visualization makes you see yourself doing the scary thing of defending your thesis.

If you have all these tips in mind, you are ready for your big day. You have worked tirelessly for your PhD and you will definitely do your best to succeed in defending your PhD thesis.

Have you completed your thesis? Are you prepared to defend your thesis? Write us your comments.

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