Here's How to Speak with Your Professor the Right Way
Effective communication with your professor makes a lot of sense. On the one hand, receiving expert answers can help you better understand the subject. On the other hand, a professor will recognize you and know that you attend all the classes and you are interested in the subject.
Here’s how to speak with your professor to gain maximum effect and avoid misunderstandings.
First Things First
Make all the necessary preparations before approaching your instructors. Be sure to know the exact name and office hours of your professor. Get to know the email and phone number. Be sure to use the cell phone only when it is absolutely appropriate – in cases of emergency. Regardless of the professor’s age and professional experience, be respectful and polite.
Remember that starting a conversation in class can be a good idea for first contacts. You may want to join in the discussion or ask a subject-related question. However, some questions should not be resolved in front of the class:
- Asking for extension on some project;
- Explaining your personal circumstances for not doing some tasks;
- Asking for a professional advice or a letter of recommendation.
Develop a strategy for communicating with professors. Show that you are a mature person who accepts the responsibility for your actions and their consequences. Try to provide not only excuses for not accomplishing certain tasks, but also possible solutions and approximate dates by which you will be able to complete them. Consider brainstorming and writing down the dates and possible solutions before communication. These simple preparations will make your excuses look more plausible. Try to be a negotiator. Avoid ultimatums and extremes. Remember that the way you see things can be different from the way they appear in the eyes of your professor.
It is important that approaching a professor you should produce a positive impression of a smart and motivated student. Make sure that your questions do not make you look like someone who overhears the most lectures and never makes notes. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I have complete notes of lectures and course materials?
- Have I read and understood them?
- Have I attended more than 75% of classes?
- Was I an active listener in class?
Only after answering these questions, decide whether your question will make or break your reputation.