Communication with Lecturers and Academic Staff

To start off, I am not saying that I am a communications champion or anything like that. In fact, being a mature age student my mind is boggled by the way that people these days communicate with each other on social media.  When I was growing up we rode our bikes to our friend’s house and knocked on the door to see if they were home, or if allowed we would make a phone call to see if they were home. To communicate with someone long distance we would write a letter because the cost of a phone call could cripple the economy.

Today is a totally different story with Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Email, IM, etc. I have probably missed out a lot and should probably go ask my daughter what others there are. So why, in the age of faceless communication, would I be writing a blog about how to communicate with lectures or academic staff?  Well, that is a very good question, and I hope to shed some light on the situation right after this 15-second ad from our sponsors.

Ad courtesy of Melina Stewart-North, Renee Anderson, and Scott Marriott

With the age of social media upon us and the need to get every single thought process people have into the open world, the need to cut down, abbreviate and speed up the inputting of the English language into the social media format was a must. This type of fast talking, salesman-type language is ok in your personal posts, but when trying to communicate with your lecturer the language needs to be a lot more formal. I know, you are going to have to type full words and full sentences, but it will make life a lot easier.

The first thing you want to always do when communicating with a lecturer or academic staff member is use your student email address.  This may seem like something you already know, but I have heard some stories and the names that some people have as email addresses — I wouldn’t open any correspondence from them either.  Next thing to do is greet the recipient and use their name, as it is a little known fact that people like to hear their own name and it makes the email more formal.

The main part of the email is why you are emailing the person, and the shorter and more concise the better, and the more likely you will get a reply.  This is due to the fact that academic staff are extremely busy and if they have to read a Dr Seuss novel before actually understanding why you are emailing them, then they are more likely to either skip the email and not reply, or reply asking why you’re emailing them.

After the greeting has been made and the question has been asked, you are ready for the goodbye. Now there are a lot of sign-off options out there but I like to keep it simple with ‘Regards’, and then my name and student number.  This format is the reason most of my emails get replied to, and I find it shows that you are serious about your studies and show a level of professionalism when it comes to communication.

That’s it from me.

– Hayden

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