Preparing for Your Zoom Defense

 Equipment & Setup

  • You will need a computer with internet access, a microphone, and a camera. 
  • Find a space with good lighting – sitting with a window or bright source of light behind you will cause you to be backlit, making it difficult to see you. 
  • Make sure this spot is also quiet and free of distractions – if you have housemates make sure they know not to interrupt you during your set time. 

 Before You Defend

  • Test your equipment. Make sure your camera, microphone, and Zoom settings all work before the day of your presentation.
  • Do a test run (or three) with your lab mates and/or colleagues to work out technical errors and presentation edits. 
  • Time yourself so that you're not rushing through the presentation. The seminar should be 40 minutes to leave enough time for questions.

Zoom Setup & Promotion

  • Amanda Polley will be responsible for setting up the Zoom link. We suggest requesting your link at least three weeks in advance to allow for promotion of the seminar and to make sure committee members have the link.
  • Three weeks prior to your presentation please send the following to Amanda Polley for your flyer: thesis title, date and time, location, Zoom link, and any photos you would like included.
  • Along with creating a flyer Amanda will add your defense to OSU Today and the Oregon State Events page, and we will send out a reminder email to the FW All list.

Tips & Tricks

We've gone through lists of webinar best practices and selected what we thought would be the most helpful for our defending students. Did you try something helpful that's not on this list? Email and let us know!


  • Silence your phone and turn off all notifications on your computer. The last thing you want is alerts popping up on your screen distracting you.  
  • If possible, stand while you’re giving your talk. It will help with posture and projecting during your presentation.
  • Let attendees into your meeting five or ten minutes early once you are set up and ready to go. This gives you a change to mingle and say hello, breaking some of that tension before your presentation.


 Powerpoint Tips

  • Use graphic heavy slides – these will hold audience attention and keep you from just reading text from the presentation.
  • Use larger fonts – attendees will be using laptops and phones with smaller screens, so tiny font will be difficult to read.
  • Avoid repeating the same slide styles – rotating between styles will keep it dynamic. 
  • Need a template? You can use one provided by Oregon State.

Other Resources