- Don’t just choose a mentor, because they’re famous and/or successful. Your mentor should be someone in the position you’re hoping to achieve in the next few years. Someone in a field that you are already working in. If you currently work as a salesman, don’t walk up to someone in the fashion industry and ask them to be your mentor, even if you intend to go into clothing business in the future. Take a step in that direction first, then find a mentor. They’ll take you more seriously.
- Have a razor-sharp idea of what you want from a mentor and be able to articulate it. “What do I do to be successful?” is a lazy question. Find questions that will get your mentor going. “I have failed badly at employing the right staff, I noticed you have an amazing team, how did you do it?”
- Research on your mentors. It’s a good opening, when you give your mentor-to-be statistics on themselves, it shows them that you are hungry for something they have. Please don’t be creepy, “I know you have 2 cats and keep your watch on the right side of your bed,” will probably get you arrested.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Pretending to be smart and know everything your mentor is saying is foolish. Be quick to ask for clarifications and enlightenment.
- Choose someone who values honesty. You don’t need another friend telling your that crappy production is Oscar-worthy. You need an experienced eye, who’ll tell it like it is and point you in the growth direction.
- Don’t ask them to be your mentor right away. The person on Wikipedia is, hardly the person face to face. Have conversations with your potential mentor, and be sure you can actually learn from them. Besides, walking up to a complete stranger and asking them to be your mentor will probably get you a no. Give them the opportunity to know you first too. It’ll give you a better chance at getting a yes.
- Don’t just ask someone to be your mentor and expect them to figure the rest out. They probably have a busy life already, they’re most likely not looking for more assignments. Be specific about the aspect you want them to help you with. It’ll give them the impression that you’re serious and will make it easier for them to help.
- Mentorship is a two-way relationship. Don’t just expect to take and take. Offer to do stuff for them as well. It’ll balance out your relationship and keep you around.
- If they schedule an appointment, make it easy to meet up with them. Clear out your schedule and try not to make excuses. You might appear unserious.
- Return the favour. Someone else probably looks up to you and wants to be your mentee. Pay it forward.
Focus on these points, and you might just make contact with a life-changing mentor.
The Connect Nigeria E-Business Fair comes up on the 3rd of February 2018 at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
To sponsor, exhibit, or register, visit www.connectnigeria.com/bizfair or call 0700 800 5000.