Workplace or academic success largely depends on your ability to efficiently communicate with your supervisor. It is vitally important to discuss concerns with your supervisor to highlight any research limitations in a timely manner. Effective communication with your supervisor further includes reporting on your recent achievements and requesting for their feedback and assistance to overcome a substantial research-related problem.
To get your supervisor involved in a problem or challenge that you are facing, consider establishing a professional work relationship with them when things are going smoothly for you. According to Examiner (2013), “Good communication is characterized by the ability of a person to listen to what the other person is trying to say, and to express one’s feelings without having to resort to using words that are associated with negative meanings, or to let emotions get in the way of a conversation.”
- It is pivotal to establish exactly what you wish to discuss with your supervisor. Planning an appropriate approach can help you to maintain a good and healthy work relationship with them. Consider preparing some basic remarks and notes if it is the first time you are going to approach them to get their advice. Nervous?? That can be taken care of by rehearsing your words so they come easily to you.
- Take your time to observe and find out how your supervisor wishes to communicate with you. Most Master and PHD level supervisors prefer to communicate via, but it is largely up to students to establish the most effective and efficient means of communication. This is because some supervisors may prefer to short and face to face meetings. If this is the case then consider scheduling short (15-30 minute) meetings with your supervisor on a weekly basis.
- You have to be very careful when choosing location and time. If possible, ask them politely whether they are available for a discussion. Obtain their work schedule so that you know when I the right time to start a conversation. Make sure to choose a timeslot that is convenient for both of you and choose their office as the meeting location. There is no harm in suggesting the coffee ship or an empty meeting room as a possible meeting location.
- Be concise and honest during your discussion. Shed light on the research problem you are facing and indicate why it was important for you to bring the issue to their attention. Refrain from criticizing others including colleagues and coworkers. A blame game can lead you to a very testing situation. Show initiative by suggesting solutions to the problem at hand.
- Carefully observe what your supervisor has to say. After all, they are going to evaluate you on the basis of your listening abilities too. Take a notepad with you to take notes of their directions, suggestions and guidance. Thank them for their precious time and consideration at the end of the meeting, and this should be done regardless of how fruitful your meeting was.