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Marketing 101: 3 tips to look busy (it can’t hurt)

Teacher: Not impressed.

In our first installment of how to use wee bit of marketing to make a good impression on your teachers and put yourself in their good graces, I talked about some basic e-mail etiquette. Before moving on to the next topic, I’d like to add one more e-mail tip. Don’t greet your teacher with the word, “Hey!” That’s rude. It makes you sound like you were raised in a barn.

Now that I’ve  gotten that out of my system, it’s time for our next topic, which is how looking busy can boost that subjective effort grade at the end of the term.

Now don’t get me wrong. If all you do is look busy, your grade will tank. Oh, and you probably won’t learn much. But let’s be honest. Some students make it all look too easy. But how does looking busy help you? It’s because the human brain tends to take shortcuts when coming to conclusions. The definition of “good student” is hard to pinpoint, so many people will use what psychologists call proxies to determine which student is good. Hard-working is one such proxy. If your teacher sees you busy, he is likely to conclude that you are a good student.

Fair? Perhaps not, but you might as well use it to your advantage.

Let’s see how, with some strategic busyness, you can impress your teachers.

  1. Let your teacher see you studying. Before class is a great time to show this off. I remember one day sitting on a bench outside my class as I worked through exercises. The professor shuffled by, saw me working, and said, “Doing exercises. I like seeing that. Very good (shuffle, shuffle), very good.” So put away that phone you’re texting on and get cracking.
  2. Before asking your teacher questions, put some work in. Don’t just saunter into his office and say, “I don’t understand number 4.” Do some work on number 4. Show your teacher what you have done so that he sees you are working. The added benefit to doing some work ahead of time is that you will actually learn more. Not only will your teacher be able to pinpoint what your problem is and give you a better answer, you will fertilize the proverbial ground of your brain so that your teacher’s answer will stick better.
  3. Sit in front. This is, by far, the easiest tip to implement. If you sit in front, your teacher can see you working. Sitting in front has a bonus benefit: You will be less likely to get distracted by “stuff” (for most of you, that “stuff” is likely your phone) because you know your teachers’ eyes are on you. Creepy. I know.

So there you have it. Three easy ways to make a good impression, and all of them not only  make you look like a good student; they improve your learning, which actually makes you a better student. What more can you ask for?

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About the Author

Elise Loyacano Perl
Elise Loyacano Perl is the Puerto Rican author of The Little Guide to not Being Dumb: How to Stop Making Excuses and Actually Learn. Click here to see her funny YouTube show called The Brain Drain. Elise holds a joint BA/MA in French literature from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and lives in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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