Greet students by name; be relaxed, warm. Open with a question, e.g. "How are things going?" or "How can I help?"
Use open-ended questions that enable you to discuss topics with advisees rather than allowing only "yes" and "no" responses.
Out-Talking the Student
Good advising is effective listening. Listening is more than the absence of talking. Try to identify the fine shades of feelings behind the words.
Do not fire questions at the student.
Silence in the Meeting
Most people are embarrassed if no conversation is going on. Remember, the student may be groping for words or ideas.
Reflecting the Student's Feelings
Try to understand what the student is saying. For example, it is better to say, "You feel that a professor is unfair to you" rather than, "Everyone has trouble with professors sometimes."
Admitting Your Ignorance
If a student asks a question regarding facts, and you do not have the fact, admit it. Go to your resources for the information immediately (which sets a good example for the student) or call the student back.
Avoiding the Personal Pronoun
Using the word "I" turns the focus of the advising session away from the advisee, toward the advisor. Expressions like "if I were you, I would" and "I think" express the advisor's opinion or experiences and are inappropriate unless they are explicitly requested. Most of the time, the advisor's role is not to express his/her point of view, but rather, to help the student to formulate his/her own opinion.
Take notes of why decisions were made. It will help you remember important information. This is also an important way to demonstrate your interest in students as individuals.
It is better if the advisor and the student realize from the beginning that the interview lasts for a fixed length of time.
Once limits have been set, it is best to end the interview at the agreed time. A comfortable phrase might be, "Do you think we have done all we can for today?" or "Let's make another appointment so that we can go into this further."
Adapted from "The Advising Interview," as found in Crockett, D.S. (Ed.). Advising Skills, Techniques, and Resources. Iowa City, Iowa: The American College Testing Program, 1986. p. 172