If you are reading this then I presume that you are looking for some inspiration as you are in the final stages of preparing your dissertation and you are now turning your attention towards the defense. This doesn’t have to be as scary or as problematic as some would lead you to believe. Ultimately, as a graduate you are going to find yourself in numerous occasions in life where you are going to have to give presentations and be comfortable speaking in an unfamiliar situation. Rather than seeing your defense as an ordeal that you have to get through, choose instead to view it as an opportunity instead to get in some much needed practise.
In case you still have any lingering doubts, here are 5 tricks that can help you get through your dissertation defense:
We are all capable of self-sabotage, some on a much larger scale than others! Don’t let your gremlins, or fear of failure push you down the road of failure. Try and deliver your presentation as confidently as possible. DO NOT fall into the trap of attempting to fill any awkward gaps or silences by wandering off down a road that you are totally unprepared for. Say your thing and then wait for one of the panel to speak up.
Okay, so it is very easy to walk into that committee room with the notion that it is you against them. While yes, you do have an agenda – so do they. They need to make a good impression just the same as you do. If you can keep this in the back of your mind then it could help. I suppose that you could say this is a slightly more appropriate measure than say imagining them minus their clothes!
The biggest mistake that you can make is to go into there assuming that you have to know the answer to every single question that they could ever throw at you. Okay, so while it is most not appropriate to just flat out say “I don’t know,” there are ways of dressing it up. You could perhaps take an educated guess, and invite additional clarification from the panel.
This bit isn’t rocket science, but going in there as prepared as it is possible to be is all that anyone can really ask of you. If you put the time and effort into planning this, then it will shine through. I know that this can seem like a HUGE ask, for what is effectively only going to be few minutes of your life but trust me, preparation is the key to success.
Easier said than done, and most students seem to be wired NOT to sleep. However, going in there after a good seven to eight hours rest will make all the difference and is infinitely preferable to going in all wired up on caffeine and energy drinks.