5 Tips For Making Your Master’s Thesis Defense Simple
Congratulations. You completed your Master’s thesis and the committee approved it. In fact, they liked it so much that they have now invited you to the dubious honor of defending it!
What can you do to make a stellar defense?
Here are five tips to simplify the job.
- Practice. Practice. And Practice: There is nothing as important as to know your presentation like the back of your hand. Performing in front of family or colleagues may be the best option, as they are a good source of constructive criticism: You really do not want to slouch during a stage performance. Mental practice is also useful if done properly: Visualize yourself at your defense; complete with all the details of the scene you can muster up. Imagine yourself in the situation, feel the adrenaline, and keep going. Doing this a few, times will remove the edge from the anticipation.
- Try remaining relaxed about it. Easier said than done, still a worthy goal. Your thesis is your baby. You have worked on it, practiced it, have even visualized the performance, and you know it better than everyone else who is going to be in the audience. The audience is on your side, they are your guests, and they want you to shine here. The committee knows this already. They are not looking to outsmart or outshine you. Catch a good night’s sleep before the defense.
- Try fishing for information. Sometimes you can find out the kind of questions the committee members are likely, or are planning to ask. Your colleagues may be able to help here.
- Make your presentation clean and simple. Crowded slides and too many of them can make a presentation tedious and boring. Use light colors and try sticking to single colored slides. Shades of blue are always a safe choice. Blue looks serious and official, yet has a calming effect on the brain.
- Prepare yourself for the questions you expect the committee to ask. Reduce your dissertation to one line per page beforehand and read those lines a few times before D-day. Try throwing questions about the topic to yourself. Start with obvious easy questions and gradually move to harder, more complex ones.
- Most importantly, stay positive and accept the fact that nothing is perfect including your dissertation. There will be a few obstacles on the way. Stumble with grace.