A few tips on mentor meetings



Most founders handle mentor meetings just fine, as they’ve had experience with business plan competitions, meetings with investors, etc. But here a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Research the background of your mentors, so you know what areas they can help you with.
  2.  When introducing yourself, focus on the experience and expertise most relevant to your venture. The only exception to this might be things that you have in common with your mentors, such as where you went to school. Commonalities help build relationships.
  3. When asked a question, answer it directly and immediately, don’t go off on a tangent or say “before I answer that let me explain X…” Use active listening: repeat back the question, asking if you understood the question.
  4. Don’t interrupt others when they are speaking! You only learn when you are listening, not when you are talking.
  5. Don’t dominate the conversation – make sure your co-founder(s) and the mentors get plenty of air time.
  6. Use the whiteboard or flip chart, it helps focus everyone’s attention. You can take a photo of it at the end of the session to aid in your note taking. It’s ok to ask others to step up to use it to illustrate what they are saying – don’t try to own it.
  7. Don’t rely on PowerPoint or other presentation software. Mentoring is about conversations and interactions. The exception to this is when you are specifically asking for feedback on an investor pitch.
  8. Follow up the meeting with agreed upon next steps and a thank you to mentors

Author: Mentorphile

Mentor, coach, and advisor to entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-profit organizations. General manager with significant experience in both for-profit and non-profit organizations. Focus on media and information. On founding team of four venture-backed companies. Currently Chairman of Popsleuth, Inc., maker of the Endorfyn app for keeping fans updated on new stuff from their favorite artists.

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