Having a conversation with your lecturer can be difficult and it might not go too well if you don’t prepare at all.

Let’s have a look at Lucy’s first attempt to have a conversation with her lecturer.

In this video Lucy:

  • Is quite confrontational, blames the lecturer and is demanding
  • Doesn’t have any suggestions for a resolution

Listen to Lucy’s tone of voice. The way she presents is:

  • Emotional
  • Attacking, saying it will be the lecturers fault if she fails

The lecturers response is:

  • Defensive
  • Unwilling to help

This didn’t work well for Lucy but with a little bit of planning a difficult conversation can sometimes go better than you expect.

Let’s have a look at a different approach.

In this video Lucy’s behavior is different because she is:

  • Asking questions to hear the lecturer’s point of view
  • Explaining the situation calmly from her point of view

What’s also different about this conversation from the confrontation earlier is that Lucy has:

  • Worked hard to manage her emotions and keep the conversation positive
  • Rehearsed her story, thinking about the different ways she could present her situation to her lecturer

The lecturer then felt comfortable to:

  • Answer her questions with more information about the situation from his perspective
  • View the situation as a joint problem solving exercise
  • Think about solutions that would work for both of them

This worked out better because Lucy had planned the conversation.

Unfortunately even when you plan your conversation it may not go the way you want. However, sometimes understanding why the situation has occurred can make it easier for you to live with the outcome, even if you don’t get exactly what you want.

In this scenario Lucy:

  • has prepared for the conversation
  • thought about different options that could be available to her
  • thought about what the lecturer’s perspective on the situation may be and come up with a number of questions to ask

Although the outcome may not be the perfect scenario for Lucy she may be able to work out something she can live with. At least by asking questions and getting more information from her lecturer she may be able to think of different action steps that would give her different options.