You’ve heard that your friend’s colleague is experienced in the same field that you’re hoping to go into so you send a brief email asking for coffee. She coincidentally has been wanting to find a way to give back and meet people. Fast forward a couple weeks and she offers to mentor you. You might be asking yourself “What’s next?” Every mentorship is unique but I’ve added a couple key points to help you start on your way.
PR is about People!
As Laura Jackson said in her talk at the PRSSA meeting last Wednesday, mentorships are all about engaging and following up with people. Mentors want to give back and share their expertise with goal-oriented mentees who are committed to the relationship. Mentees need to be reliable and timely in order to sustain a relationship. Checking in regularly shows that you’re not only invested, but you’re committed to prioritizing the relationship and respecting your mentor’s time.
The yikes moment: Your mentor lives out of town and has a structured schedule with minimal flexibility.
If this sounds like you, take Laura’s advice and coordinate pre-planned cadence meetings. A cadence meeting is a meeting planned at the same time each month (or week). This will ensure that there will always be a set aside block of time for you and your mentor to catch up and will help maintain the relationship.
Shoot for the for the moon (and all the stars while you’re at it)
Mentors want to see that mentees are constantly setting goals and keeping track of progress. Regular evaluations will help you and your mentor figure out what’s getting in the way of getting in the way of achieving your goals. On the other hand, consistently evaluating your goals can help identify when it’s time to set another goal. Goal evaluations will help with time management by creating clear standards to work toward instead of working aimlessly.
Lastly, being consistently prepared for every interaction you have with your mentor will help you feel more confident, show respect toward your mentor, and increase time efficiency in meetings. You can even use adjust your LinkedIn notification settings to update you when someone in your network (i.e. your mentor) has accomplished something or has news to share. Laura emphasized how important it is to do your research when meeting with anyone, not just your mentor. You should be able to answer the question “why did you want to meet with me?” during your meetings. You can prepare for meetings by setting aside a couple minutes to jot down some key points you want to go over, as well as a couple questions. Remember, by failing to plan, you’re planning to fail. You’ve got this!
Allison is a sophomore majoring in Strategic Communications at The Ohio State University. She is an Account Associate for OSU EcoCar, and is currently working at Elm & Iron. Allison is an avid tea lover and loves nothing more than a good pun.