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Using Tea Time to Strengthen Advisor Relationships


Tea time, a tradition steeped in history, offers more than just a cup of soothing beverage. In the realm of academic and professional guidance, integrating tea time into meetings can transform the dynamics between advisors and their mentees. By fostering a relaxed atmosphere, tea time can enhance communication, build mutual respect, and encourage a more profound, productive relationship.

The Significance of Advisor Relationships

Advisor relationships are pivotal in educational and career development, providing guidance, knowledge, and networking opportunities. The quality of this relationship can significantly impact an individual’s level of engagement and success in their academic or professional endeavors. Therefore, nurturing these relationships is critical for both parties involved.

Benefits of Tea Time in Advisor Relationships

Incorporating a tea time practice into these advisor-mentee meetings can provide numerous benefits:

Creating a Relaxing Atmosphere

Tea is renowned for its calming effects, attributed to the presence of theanine, which can help reduce stress and increase mental clarity. By conducting discussions over tea, both advisors and advisees can enjoy a more relaxed environment conducive to open, honest communication.

Encouraging Open Communication

The informal nature of tea time helps break down formal barriers that might exist in a typical advisor meeting setting. This informality encourages both parties to share thoughts and concerns more openly and comfortably, leading to effective and meaningful exchanges.

Building Trust and Rapport

Sharing a tea session can act as a bonding ritual, which can be particularly beneficial in newly formed advisor-mentee relationships. This shared time helps establish trust and rapport, critical components of a successful advising relationship.

Enhancing Cultural Awareness

Tea cultures vary widely across the globe, and introducing different types of tea or tea traditions can be an engaging way to enhance cultural awareness and learning for both advisor and advisee.

Implementing Tea Time Effectively

To make the most out of tea time for strengthening advisor relationships, certain strategies can be employed:

Setting a Regular Schedule

Consistency is key in building and maintaining relationships. Setting a regular tea time, such as once a week or bi-weekly, can provide a continuous opportunity for development and engagement.

Choosing the Right Environment

The setting plays a crucial role in the effectiveness of tea time. Choosing a quiet, comfortable space free from interruptions can enhance the quality of interactions. This could be a campus café, a designated meeting room, or even a virtual setting if in-person meetings are not feasible.

Allowing for Flexibility

While it is important to maintain some structure, being flexible with the conversation agenda allows for the discussion of topics that are most relevant and pressing to the advisee at that time, ensuring relevance and efficiency.

Personalizing the Experience

Understanding personal preferences, such as the types of tea or topics of interest, can personalize the experience and show a level of care and attention from the advisor, further strengthening the relational bond.


Tea time can be a transformative tool for enhancing advisor-mentee relationships. By fostering a relaxed atmosphere conducive to open dialogue, these meetings can become far more than just advisory sessions. They can evolve into a cherished ritual that significantly enriches the mentoring experience, paving the way for a more engaged, respectful, and productive advisory relationship.

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