The standard way to start a mentoring meeting usually consists of introductions. But how should you introduce yourself when you are 68 years old and started your first business at age 21 – not counting your lawn mowing service started at age 12? You could take up the whole mentoring session boring the entrepreneurs with your bio.
What I find the most useful is to tailor my intro to the entrepreneur’s venture as much as possible. Therefore if I’m talking to a software developer I’ll highlight my experience in the software industry, if to an education startup, my experience in [higher] education publishing, and so forth. But to demonstrate some credibility as a serial entrepreneur, I do always mention that I’ve been on the founding team of four venture-backed startups, three of which had successful exits, and that I’m currently the Chair of an existing company, PopSleuth.com. It surprises me how often other people – mentors and entrepreneurs alike – either give a very cursory intro – just saying what they do now – or make no effort to connect what they’ve done with why they have chosen to mentor this particular entrepreneur.
It’s the mentor’s job to foster at atmosphere of trust, credibility, and openness and the personal introduction is the first step in that direction, so I recommend all mentors take that phase of the mentoring meeting seriously and put thought into how they introduce themselves to best get the meeting off to a good start.