How to make the most of your thesis committee meetings?

During the course of your PhD, you would be required to attend committee meetings, typically consisting of members from your department which you have chosen yourself. These meetings are of great importance because you can exchange advice, suggestions, feedback with your committee members. You can also discuss any potential implication of your research with your committee members. But many students hesitate to fully communicate with their committee either due to the fear of being caught silly or intruding into the busy schedule of their committee. Regardless of any such feeling, every PhD candidate must communicate with their committee members to get on the right track to PhD success. Unlike committee, the hesitation and fear won’t pave the way for him to research better and write thesis sooner. Therefore, below are a few tips on how to make the most of your thesis committee meetings.

First and foremost, it is important to note that you should be the one to approach your committee members to hold a meeting rather than waiting for a call from their end to do the same as committee members would not appreciate your complacent attitude.

If there is anything you need to get reviewed from your committee, make sure you mail them days before the scheduled meeting. Before appearing for the meeting, make sure you have a viable agenda which you wish to discuss in the meeting. The agenda needs to be compact enough to be discussed in detail within the stipulated time period.

To make the most of your committee meetings, it is advised to record your meeting. You can make use of any recording device or any smart device which can support high-quality recordings. Evernote is highly recommended for note-making and recording. Do not forget to take prior permission of the committee members before setting up the recording device. Recording your meeting will be highly beneficial for you as you can easily re-visit important points discussed during the meeting.

Before attending the meeting, you can have an informal one-on-one discussion with each committee member individually and provide them a brief overview of your agenda. If you wish to discuss any unexpected results of your experiment, inform them in advance. Many a time, committee members have a difference in opinion. If you discuss things in advance, then you can resolve any disagreement which certain members might hold. To ensure that all members have a unanimous opinion, take help of the department chair or supervisor.

However, you must take charge of the meeting and keep the members focussed on the agenda and not let their attention divert onto other irrelevant issues. At the end of the meeting, if you feel that the meeting was unfruitful i.e. the agenda wasn’t fulfilled, then you should decide and schedule another meeting to address the respective issue.

 

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