Contributed by Susanna Hoskins, Supervising Producer, RIVR Media
Ever heard of an “elevator speech”? This phrase means a short spiel that you could give at a moment’s notice, to kind of “sell yourself” to a prospective employer if you were ever given the opportunity. If you were stuck in an elevator with him/her for two minutes, for example. What would you say? How would you make yourself sound good, without appearing to be bragging, in such a short time period? On the flip side, how could you best use that time to learn as much as you could about someone else in the elevator with you? A higher-up, your career idol, a company CEO, President, or department head. A “speed mentoring” session is the perfect place to practice and perfect the skill of quick, efficient, polite, useful information exchange with people who work in your desired industry.
“Speed mentoring” is a quick, interactive, topic-driven mentoring sessions in which attendants take turns speaking with various mentors and peers. Mentors give tips and pieces of advice. While mentees receive constructive feedback for reflection and future demonstration. It also helps build relationships and with your networking. This is a great way to practice one’s social skills in a professional environment while getting helpful counsel at the same time.
If you want to make a good first impression, always look the person you’re meeting right in the eye, smile, give a firm handshake, and introduce yourself. Quickly state your position or field of interest and your past work experience or current employment/student status. Then ask the other person about him/herself. “What is your job title and how long have you held that? What’s your day to day like?”
Once you have the essential information, you can move to more detailed questions later, if there’s time. Like how the person got his/her start in the industry and their career path since then or their favorite aspect of their job. You want to try to glean as much information from this more experienced person as you can in the allotted time. Speed mentoring can help with your nerves and teach you valuable skills, like how to interact with people who are above you in your field. You realize that they are people too, and they also put their pants on one leg at a time. Speed mentoring will also give you the opportunity to practice making a good first impression. Hey, you might even have fun and make a friend, or at least a career contact. Plus, you get it over within such a short time, so if you’re nervous, what’s not to like?
Want to practice your speed mentoring skills? Sign up for the WICT Speed Mentoring event in Atlanta on Thursday, June 14 from 7:30-10am at The Wimbish House here: https://wictse.org/speed-mentoring-atlanta/ or the event in Nashville in July.