Are you a university student? If yes, you will probably pass through the dissertation defense. Yes, this academic paper must be written well and defended properly. There’s much work to do and many mistakes to commit. If your paper is flawless, wrong answers given to the defense committee members can spoil everything. Find some time to perform deep research of your oral skills and opportunities to take this final step. This article is your ‘to do’ list.
A dissertation defense always leads to various questions. What should an author expect? Should he/she prepare a presentation? What if he/she fails? It is difficult to say that everything is easy. Here are some recommendations to read that will help you to get prepared. Begin thinking over a defense strategy when you start writing your paper or ordering it on a professional academic writing website. Remember, you have to start training yourself long before the deadline.
Defending Your Dissertation: Watch Your Format
Do you know how many students fail the defense because of poor formatting? More than you can imagine. So, before the final action, be confident that you have followed all style regulations applied in your university. Here is an approximate list of what you have to consider. Even an excessive half of inch in margins can break through your defenses. Yes, it may sound odd, but many tutors like spotting even the smallest sign of format violating so you should be very attentive to all important details such as methodology.
Make a Presentation
A presentation can become a life ring of your defense. If you are not sure about your speechcraft skills, some slides can help you. You need about three weeks to prepare them. Correlate them with your defense talk and paper topic. The slides must represent your paper fully. They have to be interesting, e.g. supplied with graphs, pictures, comments, and videos. If you are not sure you can work with Powerpoint, you can always order a presentation on the Internet.
Follow the Structure of a Dissertation Talk
Like any academic paper, your defense speech must have a primal structure. Your audience (note that you present a dissertation not only for the committee members but for the general audience) will not understand you at all if you hop from one concept to another.
Practice shows that a defense talk is similar to an abstract, so follow the same structure. Do not forget about the introduction and the conclusion of the speech. One more advice: remember that some people cannot understand your subject. Try to write your speech to be fully understandable for everyone.
Practice, Then Practice More
Even experts of rhetoric defense talks need to practice. Never underestimate the power of practice:
- It will give you confidence.
- Confidence attracts people. With it, you can influence committee members and students.
- You can predict and prevent all possible questions and fails.
There are several ways to practice your speech. Stand in front of a mirror and talk to yourself. Try to watch your gestures, face, position, etc. If you do not like what you see, correct yourself. This easy trick is always used to improve public performance skills.
Do not forget about additional time. A proper defense talk takes from five to ten minutes. Find a tape recorder, or use a computer or phone to record your full speech. If it possible, record a video with yourself giving a speech. If your slides are ready, practice with them.
Make Surrounding People Help You
You may not find all mistakes in your defense. People around you will. To defend your dissertation properly, ask your groupmates, friends and even parents to help you. If it is possible, find an already graduate student on the Internet and ask him/her to share the experience with you.
On the Internet, you can find some good dissertation talks performed by other people. Check how they keep the energy through the whole speech program, how big their enthusiasm is and what questions they are asked. You can borrow many ideas for defending your dissertation, but do not fall into plagiarism. It will surely spoil everything.
Prepare Your Own Questions
No matter what you defend, a thesis or dissertation, you will be asked tricky questions. In some universities they have a special person called an opponent. His/her task is to address questions and search for logical mistakes in your paper and defense process. To prevent troubles with this examination, study your dissertation several times and imagine what parts can cause problems. Make a list of the imaginary questions and give confident answers.
Make a Proper Priority
Here is an idea for you: probably, if you are writing a dissertation, there is nothing else more important in your life than its defense for the moment. That is why you need to spend all free time preparing. Sometimes it implies forgetting about friends, hobbies, school, relationship, favorite place, etc. Provide yourself with a plan, a schedule of your last weeks and exclude everything unimportant from it. Yes, your present life is full of important things, but they will not affect your future as the failed defense.
Your Health Matters
Every speech expert will tell you that mental and physical health matter for a good performance. Here are some actions you have to perform before your dissertation talk:
- Start sleeping well. Yes, it sounds ridiculous, but you have to control your regime. Spare at least 8 hours a day to have a rest. Did you know that even one sleepless night reduces your mental activity by half?
- Control your diet. Even if you eat healthy meals, it can be useful to concentrate on some mental boosters. Start consuming dark chocolate, fish, nuts and other products that improve mental activity. If you need stimulants, ensure they are natural. Cut off drinking coffee for a while. Yes, it gives you caffeine for some time, but the aftereffects are not worth it.
- Relax and keep cool. The dissertation defense is a severe test for mental health, so never go beyond your psychological limits. The committee members will push on you, and you will never know what will happen. Try to keep ‘poker face’ in terrible situations during the discussion and leave some room for smiling and enthusiasm. Never allow your opponents to form an impression that you are unconfident. If you are not sure about your skills at all, try to attend a psychologist’s cabinet.
Here are the pieces of advice you have to consider. Remember, keep your work chair warm, devote much time to prepare and you will leave your educational facility as a successful dissertation defender with the desired degree.