Guest post: Speed Mentoring. The fast and furious way to network!


The following post is a a guest post by Joanna Hare. Joanna is a  a coordinator of Hong Kong Libraries Connect (HKLC). More information, including links to HKLC blog and project, is included at the bottom of the post. 


Greetings from Hong Kong! Today I’d like to share with you a networking activity we hosted last year as a way to launch our inaugural mentoring program: Speed Mentoring!

Speed mentoring
Speed mentoring event (www.hklibconnect.org)

In early 2017 we launched a pilot mentoring program as a means to nurture LIS students, and provide an opportunity for students and professionals to gather and talk about the profession in Hong Kong in an informal, low-pressure atmosphere. We wanted to host a special event to officially launch the program. To give the whole group a chance to talk to a broad range of people, as well as identify potential partnerships, we decided to coordinate a speed mentoring session.

(For anyone unfamiliar with the term, it is based on ‘Speed Dating’, where a large group of participants gather to have ‘speed dates’. Each date is usually under 10 minutes, meaning participants are able to meet lots of different potential partners and decide if they might like to meet that person again for a more formal date.)

Ten mentors and ten mentees attended the event. Each round of speed mentoring was 3 minutes long, and we provided participants with a ‘delegate sheet’ where they could indicate if they were interested in being paired with a specific person as a mentor or mentee. We also provided a list of sample questions to get the ball rolling:

What to ask a mentee:

  • Do you currently work in a library or have done any placements/work experience?
  • What sector/area do you hope to enter?
  • What is your favourite course in your library program?
  • What do you see yourself doing 5 or 10 years from now?

What to ask a mentor?

  • Where have you worked?
  • What was/is your favourite job?
  • What do you like most about your job?
  • What is one challenge you face at work/in the profession?
  • What is one piece of advice you would give someone entering the profession?

To be frank we were nervous about how successful the event would be, as I’m sure we all feel a certain apprehension at networking events. But as you can see from the above video, the event went really well, and the conversation was lively and enthusiastic. Next time we would change the length of time for each round. We kept the duration low at three minutes because we worried people might feel too much pressure if the time was too long. But we were wrong – we couldn’t stop people from talking! It was great! So next time we might schedule five or eight minutes per round to allow more time for conversation.

tables
Speed mentoring event (www.hklibconnect.org)

If you are interested in running your own speed mentoring event, we can recommend this toolkit from UK-based MentorsMe. It’s designed for much larger events which means it is very thorough, but easily scalable for small events.

And if you would like to know more about our mentoring program, you can visit our blog posts about the program.

Thanks for reading!   

Author: Joanna Hare 


Joanna HareJoanna  is a coordinator of Hong Kong Libraries Connect (HKLC), an independent group seeking to connect library professionals across sectors and build a community that contributes to local and international discourse about librarianship, from the unique perspective of those practicing in Hong Kong.

If you would like to write to Joanna, here is her e-mail: Joannahare[at]outlook.com

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