How to write a great defense presentation

Completing a thesis is stressful for most people. But preparing a great defense presentation can be even more stressful. This is especially worse if you believe in myths about thesis defense. For example, some people believe that the committee only focuses on finding mistakes in the thesis defense. This is however not true. If you believe in this view, preparing your defense presentation will be more stressful. One thing you should firstly know is that the committee cares about you. Their goal is to help you succeed. They might however throw some tricky questions but with good intentions. Their purpose is to ensure that your results are better. Also, don’t take their comments personal. Convince yourself that they want to make your research better. Many students however find it challenging with regard to how to write a great defense presentation well.

Other people think that if their presentation is unsuccessful, they will have to start the thesis again. This is also not true. Firstly, when preparing your presentation, be optimistic. Believe that your defense presentation will be successful. This is the first step towards setting yourself up for success.  Secondly, go in with the right mindset to attract positive outcomes.

If something isn’t right, you will not have to start your thesis from scratch. Normally, the committee will ask for some revisions.

Again, don’t worry about answering all the questions correctly. Failing one question doesn’t guarantee failure. Either way, the committee will find some gap. This is because research is continuous. Remember, there will always be some gaps to fill in future studies. In case you don’t have the answer just admit it. Being honest and transparent will also garner you some points.

Tips on how to write a great defense presentation

Firstly, you will use your hard copy to write your defense presentation. The presentation will have several slides. Then you must select a great design theme. This should be relevant to your topic. You also need the right color and style to ensure that the presentation is readable. Also, choose the right typography.

Slide one: Title Page

The first slide will be the title page. You will get title page information from the title page of your hard copy. The information includes;

  • Research paper title
  • Researcher’s name
  • Institution details
  • Course details
  • Adviser’s name
Slide two: Introduction

This slide will introduce;

  • Your topic
  • Your research questions
  • Significance of the research question
  • Research objectives
Slide three: A literature review

Here, you will cover what is known about your topic. However, you will not cover everything. But you may cover three important areas;

  • Relevant current research
  • Theories relevant to your research area
  • Research gap
Slide four: Methodology

In this slide, you will address four things.

  • The type of study. Was it quantitative, qualitative, or a mixed method study?
  • Research method and rationale.
  • Sample and sampling method.
  • Data collection and analysis
Slide five: Results

This slide will tell your audience what you discovered. So you will address;

  • A description of the collected data
  • Data analysis results
  • Significant research findings.
Slide six: Discussion

Here, you will provide a discussion of your study findings. So focus on;

  • Significant findings and their meaning
  • Major findings and their relation to the available literature.
Slide seven: Conclusion

This slide will present a summary of the research. You will now talk about;

  • Your research questions
  • Major findings
  • Significance of the findings
  • Study limitations
  • Recommendations

Remember you don’t have to include everything in your presentation. So just focus on the main points. Choose the most important information. In case the committee wants more information, they will ask for it. Then narrow down the ideas for the presentation.

Ensure that you put the content in context. Explain also the importance of your research. then share relevant background information. Also have some references supporting your main idea.

Make use of transitions when moving from one slide to the other. This will give your presentation a logical flow.

Also, ensure your slides look formal. They should be readable. Where possible, make use of diagrams. For example, a graph can save you lots of words.

Tips to keep in mind when preparing for a defense presentation

  1. Rehearse the presentation

Most times, there will be time restrictions. For example, you may only have 30 minutes to make your presentation. How would you know if your slides will fit the time limit? Just practice the presentation. At first, you may practice alone. Just imagine you are in a defense room with an audience listening to you. Start by introducing yourself. Then introduce your presentation title. After that, make your presentation. Face the imagined audience while practicing the presentation. After several practices, look for an audience and practice in front of it. This may be friends, family, or colleagues. With enough practice, you will have an easier time in front of the committee.

  1. Anticipate questions

During your defense presentation, expect a lot of questions. Most of these questions will come from your thesis. So, before the presentation, read and re-read your thesis. Anticipate all possible questions. Gather as much information as possible about possible questions. Then, ensure you have answers at the fingertips.

  1. Ask for help

When preparing for the presentation, you might be stressed. This is mostly because of the fear of the unknown. During this time, you can use the help of another person. They can help with important tasks such as preparing handouts and setting up equipment. This will help reduce the stress. Remember it is important to have handouts ready. They can serve as your back up plan in case technology fails you. Sometimes PowerPoint presentations just won’t work. Imagine being in such a situation and you have no backup plan!

  1. Dress formally

Defense presentation is considered a formal event. Your school may not have laid rules in the dressing code for that event. But think of it as a job interview. You may also imagine yourself presenting a paper at a conference. How would you dress?

  1. Try to calm down

Most people are nervous when preparing a defense presentation and during the presentation. To avoid being overly nervous, prepare well. If you find yourself talking too fast, know you are nervous. Others will sweat. In such a case, take a deep breath. Nobody expects you to be perfect. So, you just need to relax and give your best. The committee wants you to pass and will guide you through. They are not out there to get you.

Final thoughts

You have done a great job completing your thesis. Now it is time to give a great defense presentation. This is your opportunity to prove the great work you have done. The question is, how do you prepare a great defense presentation? In this article, we have provided tips on how to write a great defense presentation. Follow these tips for a proper presentation. Don’t forget to rehearse. The secret to a successful defense presentation is proper preparation. Don’t worry if you feel nervous. It is normal. Just calm yourself down. Take a deep breath and take control of the stage. Remember it’s only a few minutes and you will be done with the presentation. We hope this article was helpful. Good luck with your presentation.

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