Tips on Virtual Mentoring Relationships
E-mail is a fast, easy, and inexpensive way to communicate
with your mentor. Make your relationship as productive as
- Work hard to give your mentor a sense of yourself; share
things that are important to you both at school and in your
- Frequency of contact is important, especially in the first
few months. It will help you move beyond small talk and show
that you want to discuss a variety of issues.
- E-mails can be supplemented with phone calls whenever you
feel it is important to talk. Talking will definitely will add
a new dimension to your relationship if it's possible.
- Play host, not guest! As the one seeking advice, it's
easy to see yourself as the "guest" in this
relationship, but guests are often passive. Remember that this
program is an opportunity for you. If you're going to get
what you want, you need to be the "host": Initiate
conversations, start another topic if a discussion seems to be
dying out, and give your mentor feedback about what is most
- Show enthusiasm! In e-mails, this means giving thoughtful
answers, thanking your mentor for sharing ideas, using
exclamation points when appropriate, giving feedback, and
telling him or her that you're enjoying the
- If you don't hear from your mentor, don't hesitate
to send her or him another e-mail in a few weeks asking
what's new and sharing what you've been doing.
- Keep copies of all conversations. This will help you
evaluate the experience and will enable you to go back and
follow up on earlier discussions.
- Be aware of mirroring! If you write short, quick answers,
your mentor is likely to respond with short answers. If you are
open and go into more depth, your mentor will probably follow
- Don't feel you have to start a new conversation each
time; tell your mentor what has happened since your last
- If you don't have time for a thoughtful reply, send a
quick note saying when you will be able to respond. Don't
leave your mentor wondering if he or she did something
For The ASHA Gathering Place participants:
If your mentor seems unresponsive or you are having another
problem, contact the Program Administrator.