The Dry Run

Before the actual defense, do at least one dry run in front of trusted friends or colleagues who can give you honest and helpful comments. The dry run audience should be able to:

  • give you feedback on the coherence and effectiveness of your presentation
  • ask questions you haven’t thought of yet
  • ask you some of the questions that you think the examining committee will ask
  • give you feedback on your skills as a presenter, including noting distracting or ineffective verbal or physical behaviours
  • tell you what you are doing well, effectively, and right

Be sure to schedule your dry run well in advance of the actual defense, so you have time to make the necessary adjustments to your presentation. One graduate student offers this advice on dry runs: "I did two dry runs and I found that both were very helpful. For my final defense I would do three or more if possible."