Membership Hack: Speed Mentoring

There’s a quick way to make mentorship matches. “Speed mentoring” rotates participants around a room for rapid-fire conversations with potential mentors.

How to hack it? You’ve heard of speed dating—but speed mentoring? The Mid-Atlantic chapter of the American Inns of Court says it’s a great way to do some professional matchmaking.

“The mentors are on the outside of the circle, and the mentees are stationed on the inside,” says Christina Hartle, CAE, director of chapter relations for the AIC Mid-Atlantic region. “They have three to five minutes to talk about a mentoring topic of their choice, then [the mentee] moves down one.” A bell indicates when it’s time to shift seats.

Why does it work? Rotational conversations ensure that everyone gets a chance to meet, which eliminates networking trouble spots like intimidation or monopolized conversations. And the rapid pace of movement helps to limit awkward moments. Before hosting your first event, Hartle recommends training mentors to ensure they’re vetted and up for the challenge of speed mentoring.

What’s the bonus? AIC’s event is open to both members and nonmembers. “At the end of the event, potential new members are given information about joining the association,” Hartle says. “This has been particularly helpful in recruiting student members, as some of the events have been held in conjunction with a law school. Even if it doesn’t result in direct membership, the chapters are gaining a positive reputation in the community and are getting the association’s name out there.”

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Tim Ebner

By Tim Ebner

Tim Ebner is a senior editor for Associations Now. He covers membership, leadership, and governance issues. Email him with story ideas or news tips. MORE

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