The way you speak to students shapes the way they receive your messages
Communication, which is crucial for positive student engagement, happens in the receiver, not the sender – so how can you make sure you’re actually getting through to students?
Keep it simple
Write short, clear messages. Use short, clear sentences.
Check out our guidance on communicating in times of change.
Speak in person
Whether it’s through a video call or an offline session where you’re meeting people in a physical location, talking with your students will always be the quickest and most effective way to communicate with them.
Invite a response
You might think that you’ve communicated something clearly, but unless you ask the person you’ve shared the information with, you won’t actually know for sure if they’ve received your update as intended.
- Make sure you have a way to find out from them if they’ve got the message.
- Make it easy for them to contact you if they have queries.
Share it widely
Always mention key messages on different platforms. You have no idea how successful any individual channel is, so if you’ve emailed it already, mention it in class; if it’s on a display screen, use Learning Central to share it again.
Follow it up
Mention messages more than once, and follow up with any subsequent news that refer to the original update.
See our guidance on how to close the feedback loop with students.
Have a schedule
Outline a plan for regular communications – every Thursday, once a month, once a fortnight – and stick to it. Even if you have no news, give an update to say there are no updates. End messages by telling people when you will be in touch again.
Adopting a personable tone will go a long way to sounding reassuring. Read your emails aloud – if it doesn’t sound like something you’d actually say in conversation, edit until it does.
Know your audience
Adapt your communications to whomever it is you’re speaking with. Undergrads, new students, returners, postgrads, research students, placement students: they will have different concerns.
For support with engaging students and communicating change, contact the team on firstname.lastname@example.org.