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 helpful.
- 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 experience.
- 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 wrong.
For The ASHA Gathering Place participants:
If your mentor seems unresponsive or you are having another
problem, contact the Program Administrator.
Setting the Ground