Defending your Ph.D. is probably one of the hardest things to do in the field of the academy. Worry not, because here are some of the best tips that will help you do that.
- Never underestimate the time it takes to prepare slides.
If you want to nail a thesis talk:
- Be ready by practicing it many times.
- Get yourself into multiple group talks, and you also need to practice alone.
- Do not go about memorizing each word as you may get confused.
There is certainly no limit on how many practice talks you need to have but make them as many as possible until you feel confident and ready.
Be sure to time your talk too. It depends on an array of elements. You should also avoid procrastinating on the slides. Use the fortnight to polish your slides.
- Take a listen to other defense thesis talks.
If you want to get prepared for the talk, the best way would be to listen to other defense talks samples. If the research they defend is almost similar to yours, it could go a long way to help you in yours. In case you fail to locate any video on defense talks, make time to attend the actual defense talks and watch how they do it. Ensure you avoid jargon as that may sound boring to your audience. Use clear and straightforward language. To give the audience the overall picture, utilize model slides or cartoons.
- Make your peers drill you with questions.
If you want to get prepared for the unknown questions, have your friends ask you random questions. You may find that the problems will not be the ones you get asked by the committee or the public in general, but it will help you prepare to think on the go. It will also bolster the confidence in yourself. You may also get surprised that the same questions you get asked by your peers are the same ones on the D- day.
- Go through the entire thesis and draft your own set of questions.
By now, you may already be tired of going through the thesis for the millionth time, but it is better to keep things fresh in mind that you get surprised by them. It would help if you did this to come up with your own set of questions. If you fail to do so, then that should be a red flag that you are not doing enough.
- Avoid distractors
It is a milestone to complete your thesis. You can build up too much stress and anxiety in the last two weeks before the defense. Never give in to temptation. Maintain your guard all through to the defense day. It will be crucial to give you a great talk. It would help if you had an overachiever mindset, and you should be cocksure that you will nail the presentation. The audience must also get impressed by your performance across the room. You will need to get out of your comfort zone and do it as you have spent several months writing that paper. You may come up with a very long list. Give priority to the defense talk and nothing else.