Writing a thesis requires a high level of independence. As a student at the point of finishing a degree, you should show your ability to apply the knowledge you’ve gained. Furthermore, your presentation should show that you are competent with digital tools and databases. It’s a lot, right?
Each year, thousands of students defend their thesis, but often, they’re not offered support with facing the most important presentation they’ll give before receiving their degree.
In this post, we’ll show you a combination of important factors to feel in control and achieve success:
No matter what!
First, we’ll need to know how much time we have for our presentation, because we’ll need to adjust our points to fit that timing no matter what. Some defenses allow for a 15-minute presentation. Others give 30. Have you asked your university how long you have? You haven’t? Well, it’s a good moment to write your supervisor or check your school website for that information.
As soon as you know the amount of time you’ll be working with, we suggest you record yourself practicing your presentation with the “Record an audio” option to make sure you’re staying within the time limit.
The most important content
Once you know how long you have to present, the next step is to choose what you’ll share. You won’t have time to review all the work you’ve done over a period of months, so you’ll need to choose what’s most important. Along with the title page, index and summary of the process, make sure not to leave out:
- A slide dedicated to the justification of the study. Make a case for the importance of your research. Consider why it’s important to resolve the problems in the sector your research relates to, what social benefits may come from it and how your research may contribute to your field of study.
- A slide explaining the general objective and specific objectives.
- A slide for your hypotheses. Generally, we recommend that you include all your hypothesis in your presentation, but in cases where there are too many to cover in the time allotted, you may want to choose only the most important ones.
- A slide for the methodology used. Here you can talk about how you’ve obtained your data and what tools or processes you’ve used to analyze it.
- A slide with the results. Explain each result obtained and what it means, and compare it to the results obtained by other authors. Support or disprove each of your hypotheses.
- A slide for your conclusions. You can number your conclusions or go over them in sections or blocks. This slide isn’t just a summary of your work but a place to explain what your research offers to your field of study. Comment on future possible research that could come out of your work, mention its limitations, and explain the implications it has for the larger sector you’ve learned about.
- A “thank you” slide. Use the final part of your presentation to thank your committee for their attention and to answer the questions they’d like to ask you.
The power of visual attention
During your thesis presentation, you have a clear goal: to catch and hold the attention of the professors on our committee. We’ve all attended boring presentations with slides packed full of text where you ended up reading the presentation for yourself or listening to the presenter read it to you. How can we avoid doing something similar? Use graphics as resources and distribute your information in layers. Images are the most powerful tool for maintaining attention; add photos from libraries of public domain images, tables, icons, etc. Take a look at these examples:
In the Editor, you can add all the high-quality images you’d like from Pixabay
This is one way we can easily impress our committee members. The human brain remembers images more easily and for longer than it does words. If we need more space to add text, we can create different layers through interactivity:
Wait! What do I do with my hands?
No really… you don’t need to amputate! If you’re not sure what to do with your hands, try having something with you during the presentation: a pen, a pointer or a clicker to change slides.
On the internet you’ll find tons of blogs and video tutoriales explaining the dos and don’ts of public speaking. You already know most of them: don’t cross your arms, avoid putting your hands in your pockets, better standing than seated, and don’t turn your back on the committee.
“Your body language is a reflexion of how you are. Try to communicate confidence.”
Look at all the members of your committee when speaking. It’s easy to spend most of our time looking at the person we feel most comfortable with, but make an effort to look at everyone fairly frequently.
Finally, remember that confident thoughts can help shield you from nervousness. Try our positive thinking. Ultimately, you are the one who knows the most about this topic. You and you alone have worked for months on your thesis. Believe in yourself because you’re studied your research and through reading and long hours of study, you’ve become an expert!
Oh! I almost forgot! End with a genuine smile. We all love a smiling face. 😊