Things to Say and Do Guaranteed to Spice up Your Thesis and Dissertation Defenses
1. Begin the defense by charging a cover and checking for ID.
2. Charge a two-drink minimum.
3. Begin with “Ladies and Gentlemen, please rise for the singing of our National Anthem.”
Follow that with a joke that starts with “Which reminds me of a story –
A Black guy, a Chinese guy, and a Jew walked into a bar…”
5. Bring coffee and charge 25 cents a cup.
6. “Charge the mound” when a professor beans you with a high fast question.
7. Describe parts of your dissertation using interpretive dance.
8. Lead your committee members in a Wave.
9. Break the tension at appropriate moments with a sing-a-long.
10. Answer tough queries with “You call THAT a question? How’d you ever get to be a professor?”
11. Have bodyguards outside the room to discourage attendance of certain professors.
12. Present your defense using puppets.
13. Before you begin your presentation, sell T-shirts to recoup the cost of copying, binding, etc.
14.In addition, pass a collection basket.
15. Answer complex issues in mime.
16. Use the ocassion to hold a Tupperware party.
17. Have bikini-clad models in charge of changing your overheads
18. At approximately the mid-point of your defense bring out maracas and shout “Everybody rumba!!”
19. Explain nonsignificant findings with “It would have worked if it weren’t for those f*%ing kids.”
20. Refuse to answer tough questions “in protest of our government’s systematic and brutal opression of minorities.”
21. Offer door prizes and conduct a raffle.
22. Ask professors to “Please phrase your question in the form of an answer.”
23. Interrupt every 15 minutes with the announcement “And now, a word from our sponsor.”
24. Present critical parts of your defense in iambic pentameter.
25. In your announcement, inform your committee that it will be a black tie affair.
26. Hire the Goodyear Blimp to circle the building.
27. Announce to your committee that “There will be a short quiz after my presentation.”
28. Bring your pet boa.
29. Bring snacks and start a food fight.
30. Slap your committee chair with a glove and challenge him to a duel.
31. Arrange for a halftime show.
32. Bring a big foam hand that says “I’m #1.”
33. Pass out souvenier matchbooks.
34. Hang a pinata over the table and hire a strolling mariachi band.
35. Make each professor remove an item of clothing for each question asked.
36. Use a Greek Chorus to highlight important points.
37. When necessary, say “I’m sorry Professor Smith, I didn’t say ‘SIMON SAYS any questions?’. You’re out.”
38. Dress in top hat and tails.
39. Hold a pre-defense pep rally, complete with cheerleaders, pep band, and a bonfire.
40. If you sense that things are not going well, threaten to detonate a small nuclear device in the room.
41. Show slides of your last vacation.
Put your overheads on a film strip. Designate a professor to be in
charge of turning the strip when the tape recording beeps.
If members of the committee begin to argue among themselves announce:
“OK, everybody – heads down on the desk until you show me you can
44. When in trouble, begin speaking in tongues.
45. Answer every question with a question.
46. Hand out 3-D glasses.
47. Announce credits at the end. Include a “key grip” and a “best boy.”
48. Make a practice of replying, “Sure, I could answer that, but then I’d have to kill you.”
Ask a friend and conspirator to attend and ask the first question. Draw
a blank-loaded gun and “shoot” him. Have him make a great scene of
dying. Be sure to include fake blood. Turn to your committee and ask
50. Wear clown makeup, a clown wig, clown shoes, a clown nose, and nothing else.
51. Install “APPLAUSE” and “LAUGHTER” signs.
52. Use a TelePromTer
53. Alter the clocks in the room and begin your defense 15 minutes before anyone arrives.