10 Tips for a Virtual Thesis Defense

Congratulations, you’re almost done with your degree! The only thing standing between you and that diploma is your thesis defense… *cue the dramatic music* 

You might be terrified, excited, overwhelmed, or a combination of all of these things! But don’t worry you’ll do great. Relax, read these tips, and get ready to rock your thesis defense presentation. 

1. Make sure you set a time that works for all of your committee members. 

It can be difficult trying to align three to four people’s schedules, but it is crucial that everyone be in attendance. Remember to take time zones into account if you have committee members from different universities or if they are traveling for research purposes. 

2. Ask your roommates or family to be quiet during the meeting. 

Most thesis defenses are scheduled in blocks of a few hours so make sure to ask your family or roommates to be quiet during this time. It’s even better if you could have the house or space to yourself, but I know that’s not always possible. 

Personally, my thesis defense was scheduled in a two hour block. This allowed me to give my thesis presentation and allowed my committee time to ask questions. Thesis defense questions will vary based on your subject and university’s requirements. 

3. Clean up your background!

Make sure that the background of your room is as clean as possible or use a screen filter. This is a professional meeting and you want the background to be neat!

4. Set up good lighting. 

Make sure that the lighting in the room or area you are in is good. You don’t want to have shadows on your face if you can help it.

The best place to sit is in front of a window. This provides great natural light! If you don’t have a window, try using a ring light or a lamp! Always make sure that the light is in front of you and not behind you. 

5. Make sure to dress professionally. 

You want to dress your best for your thesis defense. This is a professional occasion.

Ladies, if you want more tips on professional outfits see this article next: Business Outfit Ideas For Women

Bonus Tip: Make sure that you clothes don’t blend into your background. Also, try to avoid super crazy patterns if you can. 

You can set up your phone to test out different outfits or FaceTime a friend. They can give you an honest opinion on what looks best on the screen. This is important because on screen outfits and in-person outfits are two totally different things… 

6. Have your thesis defense presentation ready to go.

If you use slides or data, upload the presentation ahead of time and ensure it is ready to go Make sure you know how to turn on your video, audio, and how to share your screen with other people. This will help things go much more smoothly on thesis defense day. 

Your thesis defense powerpoint presentation is a way for you to showcase your work visually. Make it unique, but professional. Pictures and data charts are great examples of what work well! 

PowerPoint and Canva are great tools to make eye-catching presentations with! I love both of these programs. 

7. Keep a bottle of water next to you during your presentation just in case you need it!

It doesn’t have to be water, it could be coffee, tea, or juice. Just keep something next to you in case your mouth gets dry. 

8. Look at the camera when you are speaking and remember to speak slowly.

Look directly at the camera when talking during your thesis defense. The camera is essentially your committee members and if you were in the same room with them you would make eye contact – so look directly at the camera. 

Remember to speak slowly and enunciate your words. It’s easy to get nervous and start speaking faster than usual. But don’t worry if you catch yourself doing this, simply take a deep breath, smile, and slow down. Your thesis committee wants to hear what you have to say about your topic because you are the expert in the room. 

If you would like to read more tips on how to give a great presentation, check out this article next: 10 Tips to Nail Your Next Presentation 

9. Thank your committee for working with you on your thesis.

Please make sure to thank your thesis committee during your presentation. You couldn’t have done it without their help and guidance along the way. You can decide whether you want to thank them at the beginning or at the end – or you could do both! 🙂 

10. Remember to celebrate when you are done! 

You can celebrate alone or with some of your close friends and family. Researching, writing, and defending a thesis is a BIG DEAL. You deserve to celebrate all of the hard work you accomplished. 

Bonus Tip: Make sure to get some sleep as well! You’ll be tired 🙂 

I hope these tips for a thesis defense were helpful for you. Good luck! I know you’re going to do great! If this article was helpful – drop a comment below and let me know how your thesis defense went! 

I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂 

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