Whether you’re in a meeting, a college lecture or a high school classroom, making a good impression on the ‘boss’ is crucial. If you’re seeking a promotion or looking for a recommendation to either college or graduate school, there’s a one hundred percent chance you’ll need to suck up to your superior in some form or another.
There are many wrong ways that people tend to do so, and that usually only backfires. For instance, getting your boss or teacher coffee everyday and complimenting them is clear sign that you’re not actually interested in learning from him or her, and that you’re only looking for a recommendation. While obtaining a good recommendation is obviously ideal, there are smart ways to do so where your superior will appreciate you and will want to help you succeed.
Here are several ways that helped me get strong teacher recommendations for college:
Be prepared for class
Although this may seem obvious, many people come to class without being prepared. From things as simple as bringing paper and pens to being prepared to present projects with organized power-points and a memorized script. I can’t stress enough how much teachers and professors take note of how prepared their students are in class. A couple of weeks ago I had an in-class essay exam in my English class based on a novel we are currently reading. Being an online class, the classroom we were in was not our normal classroom. One of the students who came to take the exam went to our professor and asked him for paper since she forgot hers at home. I caught a glimpse of his disappointment in his college-level student, and realized that something as simple as bringing paper to class can determine whether or not your professor, teacher, or boss will respect you.
Make eye contact
Many studies show that making eye contact with those you’re talking with will increase your chances of connecting with them. If you’re making eye contact with your teacher, professor or boss during his or her lectures, they’ll notice your attentiveness and develop a better connection with you. This may seem silly but it truly works. Make sure you appear interested, nod and make facial expressions as well as use eye contact. Even if you don’t end up talking in class or in the meeting, your superior will see that you were engaged and absorbed all the information that was presented.
Take notes (even if you don’t necessarily need to)
Usually, we only jot things down that we know we’ll forget, but if your teacher, professor or boss sees you taking notes throughout a lecture or a meeting, it will make you seem much more focused. Obviously you don’t have to write everything they say, but it won’t hurt to have some extra notes for the long-term reward. Thanks to my note taking, my teacher mentioned in my recommendation that I care about what I’m learning and that I deem what I learn as important.
Bring up related subjects outside of class material
This is one of the best ways to seem smarter in a classroom or office. By listening to the radio for thirty minutes a day (I recommend the NPR app, it’s easy to use and provides information in a way that’s easy and interesting to absorb), you’ll have relevant and current news to share during discussion. The second way to make connections is by bringing up novels or classic films. This will not only make you seem smarter, but will also show that you care about learning outside of what you’re required to learn.
Ask questions you know the answers to
When you ask questions you already know the answers, you can form better questions that will impress your teacher. It might seem a little ridiculous at first and you may be a little uncomfortable in the beginning, but give it a try and you’ll find that it works extremely well. Your teachers will be impressed that you’re able to form your thoughts coherently and ‘understand’ their explanations. Not only will it be easier to participate in class, but your recommendation letter will be full of great notes about how important it is for you to understand the material thoroughly.
This was a guest post by Noa Livneh, a college freshman in the San Francisco Bay Area.