Workshop: Preparing for the Viva Defense

The seminar aims at preparing students for the viva defense by honing presentation skills so as to effectively argue points convincingly and think on one’s feet during the question and answers session.
The workshop provides information about the formal procedure, the requirements, the social setting of a Ph.D. examination and the do’s and don’ts of a PhD examination. In this seminar we will use video recording as a tool to enable the participants to capitalize on their strengths and to improve their performance. This workshop places particular emphasis on preparing strategically one’s position in the lead up to the viva defense and dealing with the questions & answers session in the second part of the viva defense.


  • Selecting a committee: what should I take into account?
  • The do’s and don’ts in oral Ph.D. examinations.
  • How do I stay my ground during the Q&A?
  • How do I deal with stage fright?
  • How do I structure the preparation phase most effectively?


video recording, one to one coaching, working with a partner, plenum discussion, a mix of theory and practice

Workshop hours:

Day 1: 9.00 am - 6.00 pm // Day 2: 9.00 am - 4.00 pm


  • Englisch


  • Promovierende


  • Dr. Matteo Garavoglia

    Dr. Matteo Garavoglia is Research Associate at the University of Oxford’s Centre for International Studies and Adjunct Professor at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. Previously, he was the Italy Program Fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Centre on the United States and Europe and Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nietze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington DC. Matteo was educated at the universities of London (SOAS), Paris (Sciences Po) and Berlin (FUB). He lived in twelve countries across four continents and speaks English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. Matteo worked with Impulsplus for over a decade and provides workshops on the following subjects: “Almost there: preparing for the viva defense"; “Team communication: key roles and intercultural contexts”; "Rhetoric and speaking in public: an introduction to theory and practice"; "Leading teams in academia: multiple perspectives for greater effectiveness"; “Visible and influential: networking at conferences and across cultures”; “Just landed: an introduction to life and academia in Germany”; “Paid to research: how to prepare successful funding applications”; “Clear, engaging and persuasive: academic writing to stand out”; ”Closing the gap: gender awareness training for men in academia” and “Leading the leader: lateral leadership to manage your bosses and supervisors”.


Do. 26.11.20 09:00 -
Fr. 27.11.20 17:00


Potsdam Graduate School
Bildungsforum, 4. Etage
Am Kanal 47

14467 Potsdam


Maja Starke-Liebe
Telefon +49 331 977-4569