American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

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 possible.

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  • Work hard to give your mentor a sense of yourself; share things that are important to you both at school and in your personal life.
  • 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.

Initiate

  • 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.

Monitor

  • 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 your lead.
  • Don't feel you have to start a new conversation each time; tell your mentor what has happened since your last conversation.
  • 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.

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