By Allison Struber
Recently, a friend shared with me she was meeting a lot of great people by swiping right. I was a bit taken aback because she is, what appears to be, happily married. My response caused her to grin and clarify she was not looking for romance. She was using a new app to find mom-friends. It has similar features to the infamous Tinder dating app, but the purpose is to narrow down the vast number of moms in an area to those who share similar interests.
As she further explained how the app worked and her success, my opinion of this swipe left/swipe right function began to change. With correct intentions, the technology could be helpful.
HOW TO SWIPE FOR NETWORKING SUCCESS
Consider all of the factors that go into choosing a mentor or mentee. It would be great to quickly swipe through professional profiles to find a good match. I would look for things like: integrity, honesty, enthusiasm, skills and experience. I would want someone who was passionate about growing new leaders and committed to investing the time it takes to do so. But just like the popular dating app, a swipe right on a mentor’s professional profile would not mean a match. My profile would also need to reflect good mentee status.
If you were seeking a mentor, here are a few things you would need to get swiped right.
Good mentors and good mentees use their time intentionally. It can be difficult to find coordinating availability, so be accommodating. Make this opportunity a priority and accept the meeting time offered.
Good mentors have a wealth of knowledge, and a good mentee is going to pull out that great information. Think about what you admire in this mentor and ask questions to discover how he/she developed that skill or ability.
Nothing is worse than a person who ‘knows it all’ except a person wanting to be mentored who ‘knows it all.’ If the conversation turns to a topic you feel confident about, pivot the discussion to something else with a new question or ask for feedback about a time you have utilized that specific knowledge.
It is ok and important to open up and share about yourself, but give your mentor the chance to lead the conversation. If you are doing most of the talking at every meeting, the balance is off.
Willing to take advice
No mentor is perfect, but there is an assumption their role has been given because he/she has been successful in an area. There is no expectation that a mentee must mirror the mentor’s experience, however, if instruction/advice/guidance is continually being disregarded, you will be right on track to find yourself without a mentor.
Willing to be a mentor
A good mentor has a goal to inspire and teach others. It is a reward to see the investment of their time multiplied by their mentee becoming a mentor. Honor your mentor and give yourself the joy of pouring into someone else. Swipe right on your own mentee.