Effective Meetings with Your Advisory Committee

Are you wasting your time, and theirs, in these meetings?

Step 1:
Decide what it is that you hope your advisory committee will give you.
  • An advisory committee meeting is not an exam.
  • You are trying to get effective advice
  • List the things you want advice on.
Step 2:
Make sure you give them what they need to help you.
Provide them with enough background so that they understand the issues.

9 times out of 10 you will be solving the problem yourself just by going through the process of explaining it to others.

What should your advisory committee report contain?

On one page

An appendix. Papers in press or in preparation.

To have effective meetings, you must:

Choose your committee members wisely. Select people whose opinions you respect, who are wise, and who have time.
Meet with them regularly. Twice a year is good.
Provide them with a easy to understand written report well in advance. well in advance.
  • If you want them to give good advice, they first have to understand what you did.
  • Be brief but clear.
  • You don't want reflex responses (the spinal/non-cerebral type). Give them time to reflect. Give them the report at least a week in advance.
Actively direct the meeting.
  • It is a mistake to passively sit there and simply answer the questions that are posed
  • Explain the most pressing issues clearly and briefly. You only have an hour.
  • Don't leave out things that trouble you. This is not a forum for trying to impress people, but a group of friends trying to help.
  • Some students get up tight. Remember that this is not an exam but a forum for receiving advice.

Copyright 1995
Tutis Vilis
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology
University of Western Ontario
London Ontario Canada

Created 28 Sept 1995
Last updated 10 January 2007
Comments welcome: tutis.vilis@schulich.uwo.ca