Online-Workshop: Preparing for the Viva Defense


This seminar prepares PhD candidates for the viva defense by honing presentation skills to argue their points convincingly and to train them to think on their feet during the question and answers session.


The workshop provides information about the formal procedure, the requirements, the social setting of a PhD examination and the do’s and don’ts of a viva defense. 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. On the first day, participants attend the workshop all together as a single group in either a morning or an afternoon session in order to acquire a set of core skills and competences that they will later practice. On the second day, the participants join the trainer for a one-to-one session characterised by a dedicated tailor-made approach to practice what they have previously learnt.

Contents in brief:

  • 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 questions and answers session (Q&A)?
  • How do I deal with stage fright?
  • How do I structure the preparation phase most effectively?


  • Video (i.e. online) feedback
  • One to one coaching
  • Working with a partner
  • Plenum discussion
  • A mix of theory and practice

Workshop hours:

Day 1: two half-day sessions with roughly half the total number of participants for each session (i.e. one session from 09.00 to 12.30 and one session from 13.30 to 17.00) // Day 2: a series of one-to-one sessions

Please note: The calculation of workshop costs and cost price for this online workshop is the same as for a two-day attendance workshop.


  • Englisch


  • Doctoral candidates who will soon be handing in their PhD thesis or have just submitted it


  • 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




Maja Starke-Liebe
Telefon +49 331 977-4569