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How can I survive my oral defense?

Wise OwlTop Ten Tips for Surviving the Oral Defense:

  1. Arrive early and have everything you need.

  2. Be mindful of your physical appearance. Don't act paralyzed. Try to relax and take charge of the situation.

  3. Make eye contact and connect with your audience. Avoid nervous habits.

  4. Take a moment to compose your responses. Clarify the question if necessary.

  5. Answer the questions directly. Don't ramble.

  6. Don't be afraid to correct mistakes before anyone pounces on them.

  7. Reframe negative questions before responding. Deflect emotionally laden questions.

  8. Stand up for yourself but in a positive way. Don't argue with your committee.

  9. Never lie (or you die).

  10. Tape record the discussion if possible. (You'll never remember it otherwise!)



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