If you get all nervous and your hands begin to sweat every time you think about defending a dissertation, you need to calm down. There are thousands of students who have to go through this stressful stage of getting their degree every year and they all survive through it. So will you. There’s nothing horrifying about giving a speech and discuss the paper with your committee.
You’ve worked very hard to write a flawless dissertation and now it’s time to get recognized by other scholars. There are some tips on how to defend a dissertation that might help you get through the anxiety and stress. Remember, it’s the preparation process that guarantees you the best possible results. There’s nothing to be worried about.
Review the material
You probably can’t stand reading and even looking at your dissertation at this point. But make the final effort and review the material once again. There is a high probability you’ve already forgotten some of the references and the peculiarities of the lab work. Refreshing this information in your mind will make you sound more confident. The chances are you’ll be able to answer all of the questions faster and with more precision.
Skip the details
It may seem that this dissertation is the work of your life and you can talk about 24 hours a day. But there’s no need to go into all the details. Your committee is familiar with the paper and doesn’t want to hear about its every section. Keep focused on the main findings and conclusions. Stay on the topic and wait for the additional questions if there’s something that needs to be specified.
Use visual aids
Pay close attention to the visual aids you’re going to use. There is absolutely nothing extraordinary about getting prepared. Your dissertation defense, as any other presentation, will consist of 3 parts – introduction, body, and conclusion. Just make sure you have well-structured reasoning to explain why your topic is important, what steps did you take to explore it, and what conclusions you’ve managed to make.
Don’t forget to rehearse
This step may seem insignificant but you shouldn’t ignore it. You might think that the right words will come to you during the presentation but practice shows that they rarely do. Say the words you’re going to say during the defense process to use a “muscle memory” of the tongue afterward.
Breath in and breath out
You have to relax and enjoy this experience. The professors in your committee are on your side and want you to get a degree. Every question they will ask you has a purpose of getting into more details on your topic and not to bring you down. Smile, be polite and use your sense of humor from time to time. It’s the final step you need to take to reach your goal so enjoy this moment. Stay positive and remember that the only enemy you have is yourself.