“communication, communication, communication.”

by | March 27, 2009

The mantra realtors use is, “location, location, location.” I am going to suggest that the mantra for dissertation learners in working with their mentors is, “communication, communication, communication.”

Neither the mentor nor the learner should expect the other to be a mind reader. But it seems too many do. One of the first steps when you begin this relationship should be a discussion about communication. How? How often? What kind of information should be communicated immediately and what can wait until next week? Do learners know when to expect feedback from the mentor and do mentors know when to expect new drafts from the learner? Do learners know what they are working on while the mentor reads a draft of the most recent chapter? Do they communicate with the mentor about what they are doing? Or waiting for the mentor to tell them what to do?

Do you know how long you might go without communicating before one or both of you will wonder what is going on? One week? One month? Six months? Do learners share important information with their mentors that might take them away from the dissertation for awhile? If you are having a baby or surgery with a long recovery period or are going to be on an extended job project, do you let your mentor know?

Be professional and set the ground rules early in the relationship. And make sure you communicate.