Thesis writing is an intensive activity. But your PhD defence is an all the more intensive task. What does it take to give a successful PhD defence? There can be ways to prepare successfully, keep your stress levels in control and ensure that you have high chances of success. The experience of everyone’s PhD defence is unique and unpredictable. Your presentation and talk would only be as good as you want it to be. Know that if you have written a good quality of thesis, you can be confident and reassured that you would get good results.
1. Do not underestimate and do a lot of practice talks: if you want to give a good thesis talk, know that you have to practice multiple number of times. It isn’t a good idea to cram it up all, just right before you talk. You need to have a lot of practice talks. This does not mean that you have to mug up each and every word in your thesis but it is important to be well polished. It helps to time your talk so that it is neither too lengthy and nor too draggy and you leave enough time to take care of the questions.
2. Hear other theses defence talks: it is a very good way to familiarise yourself with your defence practice, to hear as many defence talks as you can. You would be very lucky if you get some defence samples in your subject area. You would get a very good idea whether the other scholars were energetic, enthusiastic, assertive, rough, and nervous. What were their key areas of preparation or loop holes that you can pick up your practice from?
3. Do a mock drill with your friends/relatives: all those who are familiar with your topic can be of great help to you by asking you questions that can be unexpected or unpredictable. It helps to build up your confidence and it may so happen sometimes that your lab mates may ask you questions that may truly come up in the defence.
4. Have a list of your own questions: Even if you have read your thesis up teen number of times, you need to read it with a perspective that you are able to create for yourself a list of questions that the committee could ask you. With that perspective you would be able to read it with complete in-depth understanding of the topic and an eye for detail like the committee is going to be having.
All this and some more is what is required to be sure that your oral defence is nothing but a smooth sail and leads you towards becoming a doctor.