Imagine a project defence room where you are presenting your research work in such a fabulous way, and your panel members just can’t stop nodding, gazing at you with their mouths wide open and clapping non-stop for you…It is just an imagination, so wake up! Put more work to it by reading this article, apply it and pray your panel members do not turn your project defence to project attack!
Project defence has come to stay, and the only way to graduate in Nigerian universities is to at least defend what you have written (or copied and paste) in a convincing manner. Gone are the days when you could just copy and paste an article from the internet and dump for your school. Our Nigerian school system is changing from dumping grounds to speech oriented institutions, which means that you must be good at presentations in order to scale through. At times students confuse themselves with content of their work. The truth is that it is better to be more confident with a poor content, than to be un-able to defend an excellent research work.
In this article, I am going to give out some useful tips and tricks on how you can have an awesome project defence and presentation. In order to make reading this article more pleasurable, I am going to give tips on how what to do before the defence day, on the defence day, and inside the defence room. So enjoy!
TIPS TO APPLY BEFORE YOUR DEFENCE DAY
First before your project defence, you must ensure you have a romantic relationship with your project topic and the whole content. When I say ‘romantic relationship’, I mean your research topic or research thesis must be of great interest to you. If your topic is too difficult or it was imposed on you by your project supervisor, you better start loving the topic or better still; look for a way to get it changed for you. In my little experience, I have discovered that students who hate their topics usually have problems flowing in the defence room, and it can mean bad for you. One trick to choose a nice research topic is by looking for subjects that you love talking about. If you’re a car freak, you should be considering topics like ‘the impact of official cars on employee productivity’. You would be amazed how this simple trick will go a long way in helping you.
Second, do adequate research on your topic. Before defending or presenting your project, you should source for similar materials on your topic. Focus on how the problem was identified and addressed. Do not dream of having an awesome presentation if you do not know common terminologies associated with your topic. Identify your keywords, variables, background of the study, history of the study and all the variables before your defence date. If you writing on ‘employee motivation and its impact on productivity, you should be able to know your two variables-‘employee motivation’ and ‘productivity’.
Third, know your motivation for the study or research. Most final year students in Nigeria defending their projects do not perform well because, they fail to identify their motives for the study. The motivation for your study is probably the first answer to numerous questions you may be asked in the defence room. Before a research is undertaken, there is usually a problem to solve. The desire to solve that problem becomes your motivation for the study. Please do not use money, or the need to graduate as motivations for your study. Motivation for the study is best applied in questions like ‘why undertake this study’? ‘Tell us about your work’?
Fourth, know your strength as well as your weaknesses. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses will help you prepare a backup plan in case the direction of the defence changed in an unfavourable way.
Fifth, discuss with professionals in your research field and do group discussions with friends. Make your friends your panel members, and defend in front of them. Tell them to criticize and ask numerous questions. With this little training you will be tuning your mind set for what a defence room will look like. You can also seek professional help.
ON THE DAY OF DEFENCE
On the day of defence, a lot of students panic and some may even forget their project topics. Just apply the following tricks and tips and you will be just fine!
First, rehearse with friends again. Look for people to discuss your project with all over again. This will help you remember your key points.
Second, develop good self esteem and confidence. Before you enter the defence room, make use of some good self esteem! Think well about your self, and have in mind that these professors and senior lecturers you are going to face are human beings that do not know every thing. So be in control. See yourself as someone going to lecture a bunch of people that do not know much. Remember 90% of your fears cannot be seen at first, unless you start showing it.
IN THE DEFENCE ROOM
· Knock first before you enter.
· Greet the panel members with lots of smile
· Wait for your first question
· Answer with great confidence. While answering your questions look straight into the eyes of your panel members, and never be rude. All is well!