If you discover that another academic has written a thesis on a topic similar to your own, don't stress out. Carefully read the material to gain an understanding of what it is that the prior thesis has accomplished and consider ways your thesis might further develop the topic or might approach the topic from a totally different perspective. You are likely to find that the former thesis is not the same as the one you are considering after all. To be sure, show the competing thesis to your advisor; he or she can give you indispensable advice. If you discover that another graduate student is writing a thesis on the same topic you've chosen, you could also consider contacting that author to get an even better idea of whether your ideas overlap. (Be careful not to give away too much of your own thinking on the topic as you conduct this discussion.)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the brain pays attention to the unexpected. When it comes to presenting unfortunate news to an anxious audience, the careful selection of focal points can help to euphemise an otherwise distressing state of affairs. If your line manager has asked you to prepare a talk concerning an impending redundancy consultation, try surprising your audience by focusing your topic chiefly on the moral and monetary support the affected can expect to receive. Giving comprehensive financial reasons for the lay-offs or repeating your speech on the company’s best interests will hardly help to motivate your staff at this sensitive time. Bearing in mind that the purpose of your talk is to soften a potentially devastating blow, the title should be worded as brightly as possible to inject some much-needed optimism into the situation.