If your thinking is blocked – you freeze or forget – in the viva:

  • Stop. Just stop. Take a moment or two because you’ve probably not done that.
  • Breathe. Before you can speak you need to have some air. Your brain could use it too.
  • Reflect (part one). If stopping and breathing haven’t cleared the blockage then go deeper. Ask yourself why you’re blocked. What’s the reason?
  • Reflect (part two). With a reason in mind, consider what you can do. Maybe you need to ask your examiners a question. Maybe you need to read your thesis. Maybe you just need to sit and think a little longer.
  • Respond. Take your time, but start to talk. Share what you can and move the discussion along.

Being blocked is a starting point. You have to go somewhere from there – so you may as well take charge and do something!