The Impending Mentor Shortage

What can we do as a community to encourage/engage people to become mentors? Than as Pandora’s box opens with individuals, accelerators, incubators and conferences all looking for time, what can we do to keep the tap from getting shut off?

I never go into a mentor/mentee meeting expecting anything, but a thank you if am the mentor.  I have received them in different ways: socially twitter/facebook/g+/linkedin/blog post, mail digital/physical and every once in a while a gift. Sometimes I get nothing, which always surprises me, but as a shy person i get it.

If you are unsure of the proper etiquette here are some rough guidelines:

  • Mentees
    • Always send a personal thank you via email within 24 hours (independent of the value of the meeting – this is about time not value)
    • If the meeting offered concrete suggestions independent of the value, use some social capital and thank the person publicly (if you are not willing to thank the person publicly you should not request or accept the meeting)
    • If the person introduces you to someone always respond in a timely manner and thank them in the email
    • If the person gives you additional time and helps connect you to other people on a regular basis think about asking them to be an advisor for your company or a personal mentor
  • Mentors
    • Never expect anything, but a thank you
    • Never ask for money or stock in the company

What are your thoughts on mentor/mentee etiquette?

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