Soft skills development

How to defend your PhD thesis by Daniël Schut from bHertz

Defending your dissertation in front of the opposition can be nerve-wrecking and stressful. Luckily, there are strategies to adopt to prepare yourself optimally for your defense. In this online workshop Daniël discussed and interactively practiced strategies to confidently work towards your defense. What questions can you expect the opposition to ask, and therefore prepare for it? How do you respond to difficult questions? How to deal with different styles of questioning?

The participants were invited to make a short two minute pitch of their defense to present to a colleague in 3 rounds – questions and feedback was given by the other colleague and roles were changed. Each round focused on one of the three key aspects, mentioned above. To successfully complete the assignment, participants had to focus on key points of their thesis, but the content was not everything – clarity, intonation and confidence were tested as well. The best practice is practice, practice, practice – so that’s what they did!

“Very dynamic, well structured, active participation”

Anonymous participant

“I usually need to know about the ‘framework’ of what I am doing in order to be able to know what to expect. This workshop has helped me in that”

Anonymous participant

“Practice with people from different fields is insightful, because it forces you to rethink terminology that you use every day and is completely obscure to others.”

Anonymous participant