How to Effectively Communicate with Your PhD Supervisor

Many PhD scholars find difficulty in communicating effectively with their PhD supervisors. However, having a bad relationship with supervisors is usually their own faults. When it comes to choose a PhD supervisor, you should choose the one who completely fits to your needs. 

If you are an independent researcher, you need someone who can quickly glance over your work and give some suggestions to mend errors instead of one who will evaluate every aspect in detail. However, if you need deep guidance, you should choose a micromanager, but you still have to be cautious. You will choose the one who devotes their time with scholars for queries resolution instead of one who doesn’t have time to pay attention on their queries. Therefore before choosing a supervisor, you should consider all these factors. 

But the picture doesn’t end here. You are supposed to work with different personalities so you should build up effective communication skills. You should find ways to get the support of your PhD supervisor. 

What if your supervisor is busy

It’s not surprising that your supervisor is running out of time and not able to meet you. You should not take this to your heart. To handle this situation or to get the most out of it, you need to improve your communication strategies. You should tell your supervisor how important this meeting is for you. You should seek your supervisor’s availability and flexibility for scheduling a meeting instead of yours. You should be dedicated to arrange a meeting with your supervisor. You can schedule your meeting even when your supervisor is winding up. The last 10-15 minutes of conversation can be very helpful for you especially when your supervisor doesn’t need to dive into deeper details.

What if your supervisor is not listening to you

You need to learn how to grab the attention of your supervisor. You have to ensure that you focus on work related issues and not asking anything that is off your project. Sometimes PhD scholars don’t get response from their supervisors as they don’t understand queries due to miscommunication. You should clarify your thoughts. Tell your supervisor what bothers you actually. Present your complex data or information in an easy way so that your supervisor can quickly judge what the issue is and what needs to be done. Never forget that supervisors don’t have enough time to devote on your queries. When you take a project to them, they might ask you some questions to get a quick overview about it. If you don’t answer any question, your supervisor will leave it in the mid and defer your queries.

What if you disagree with your supervisor

Express your ideas confidently to your supervisor if you disagree with their suggestions. Since you are doing research on your project, you know deeper than your supervisor. Let your supervisor know all facts. If you explain your supervisor why their particular suggestion is not worth following, your supervisor will think from different angles to resolve your queries. However, you should begin your conversation on a positive note instead of directly introducing disagreements. 

How to make your supervisor support you

Before scheduling a meeting with your supervisor, you should plan it properly. Think of some ways to solve your issues and present them to your supervisor. This will help your supervisor tell you which option might be the best one. For instance, if you need an advice on your thesis, you should clearly explain this so that your supervisor can get to the problem right away without wasting enough time.