Five steps for building and maintaining relationships with mentors were revealed during a Mixergy interview with Darryn Lee. Darryn has been practicing these 5 techniques since high school, and has since landed his dream job.
Events are often used to network with prospective mentors, however, it is also an opportunity to reach out to current mentors and touch base. Take advantage of every invite you receive, but focus on seeking out people and events within your industry. Be sure to talk to as many people as possible, and connect with both potential and current mentors.
While the practice of exchanging information electronically is gaining momentum, most people still prefer a physical business card. Be sure to ask each individual for a business card, and be ready to give out your own card. Keep in mind that obtaining a business card from a desired mentor is not the end goal. Once you receive the business card, convey its importance by reading the information and putting it away carefully. After the conversation ends, jot down 3 memorable things on the back of the business card. This step is crucial, as it will serve as a launch point for a later conversation or email.
After receiving a business card or email address be sure to follow up within 24 hours. The longer you wait, the lower your chances are of establishing contact with your mentor. Personalize each email for a higher response rate, by including details from a previous conversation. Share your experiences, and ask about your mentors’ life and business. While you may be extremely eager to receive a reply, especially when asking for advice, never expect or demand a response from your mentor. Your mentors are most likely busy with their own work, and do not want to feel obligated to respond. Communicate that the burden on maintaining the dialogue is on you, and simply show appreciation when you do receive a reply.
Make them Proud
Mentors want to see you succeed and hear about your accomplishments. Show them that you have listened by implementing the lessons learned during your conversations. Do not disappoint them, and go the extra mile when push comes to shove. Make your mentors proud by putting in the effort and working hard to represent them well.
Consistency is essential to sustaining the mentoring relationship. Once you have developed several key contacts, take the time to frequently attend important events and reconnect with your current mentors in person. In addition, nurture on-going discussions, by emailing your mentors on regular basis. Keep them up to date by sharing your success stories, while communicating your interest in their personal life. Consistently exceed expectations and deliver on your promises, in order to better build and maintain meaningful connections.
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