How Can You Handle Your Dissertation Defense With Class And Intelligence?

Have you ever heard this famous quote?
‘It’s not what you say but how you say it’

Well, as far as your

defense for dissertation

is concerned, it matters what you say and how you say it.

The dissertation defense is one the most important moments of a student’s life.

I can be polite and honestly say that it’s the time where a committee of people will sit and discuss how this research fits into the broader scale of field but in reality it is a time when a student is tried and tested in front of a jury who will decide if they want to pass you on the basis of the arguments you present.

So if a student is having sleepless nights in fear of his thesis defense, then don’t mock him because soon you will see that day too.

But don’t worry, below mentioned are a few tips that can guide you through your defense process smoothly and confidently.

Prior To The PhD Dissertation Defense

  1. Try to attend research defenses that are scheduled prior to yours. That way not only will you get an idea how a dissertation defense presentation looks like but will also know the type of dissertation defense questions that are asked and how different students respond
  2. Try and arrange a meeting with your committee prior to the defense. When talking, try to evaluate their thought process and determine the kind of questions that they can ask
  3. But during that meeting do not, at all, discuss your dissertation. Not only will it look unprofessional but it will also give the committee a prior opportunity to discuss your research which might result in even more difficult questions during the defense
  4. Try to get in touch with students who have had any of the committee members in their dissertation defense before. Ask them about their personal experiences so you would get an idea what to expect

During The Defense:

  1. Don’t appear aggressive. If you are a person who uses loud and wide gestures, then practice in front of the mirror to control that. Aggressiveness may become a big turn off for the committee members
  2. Smile a little during the whole defense. This will give an impression of confidence to your committee members and keep you calm at the same time
  3. Do not learn your dissertation defense PowerPoint by heart. If you lose the track of your thought once getting back on the track might get a little difficult
  4. Try to focus on the question that you are asked carefully. Most of the professors will mingle their own theories and opinions with their queries and it might get a little complicated if you are not listening carefully
  5. If you don’t know an answer to a question, try this technique. Politely say that you don’t know but this question encourages a number of implications and then go on to explaining them
  6. If you need a moment to gather your thoughts to answer a question, then let them know politely. This will give the impression that you want to think before you speak

Hence, here you have some of the tips through which you can handle your thesis defense with dignity and class.


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