We all hate to defend ourselves. And if it is in front of a serious, observant and mostly bespectacled dissertation committee, even more so! What can be more petrifying than standing up and defending your research and hard work, knowing that this could be your last chance to prove yourself? To help you out we offer a few tips to help you sail through the nightmare of defense.
Go through your entire dissertation
This sounds silly, you of course know the points you put in there, and the crux of your research. But where did you get that statistic on page three? Chances are you might get blindsided when asked a simple but sudden question and you don’t want stand there mutely trying to gather your thoughts. Beat them to it. Leaf through every page and know every little detail about your dissertation before the big day.
Practice in front of the mirror even if your roommates giggle
Stand in front of the mirror and practice your lines till you don’t flub and, your smile, doesn’t look pasted on. Talk clearly, pause for effect, and never ever hold your breath. Don’t read out from your research papers but make eye contact and try to sound as casual as your nerves would allow.Don’t sound defensive
Just because you are defending your dissertation project doesn’t mean you need to be defensive. Be friendly, responsive, quick on the uptake, and answer questions without sounding nervous and make sure that you sound appreciative of the time your committee spent on your research.
Dress to kill
Well not exactly! But wear clothes you are comfortable in, that allow you to move around and dab on minimal make up so you sound serious and what’s that word, academic. After the first phase of the dissertation defense is over, the second phase where you get down to the nitty gritties is going to be a breeze.