Tuesday, March 3, 2009

can a mentor help me be a better speaker?

Have you asked another woman to mentor you as a public speaker? Accenture released a new report today that focused on mentoring, with interesting responses from women executives. From the report's key findings:

When asked to whom they turn for career advice, just 14 percent of women cited a formal mentor at work, compared with more than 50 percent of women who cited either family, friends and current or former colleagues...Yet women acknowledge the value of a mentor: they report that their mentors help them think differently about certain situations, help with their current roles and help them see more opportunities and possibilities...help with identifying their skills and capabilities, increasing their confidence and encouraging them to stretch themselves
Nearly 30 percent cited mentors as having "helped me improve my communications skills." And in many situations, from meetings to medium-sized presentations to big speeches, a mentor can fill in the gaps between training as a trusted advisor. A mentor can watch you present and watch the reactions, and talk to you privately about the results.

Mentors can be in your workplace or elsewhere (and I'm always gratified that so many of my coaching and training clients are eager to get my feedback as they keep advancing in their speaking skills). Can't find a mentor in your workplace--or have a group of women needing or willing to give mentoring help to emerging women speakers? Try the social networking site GottaMentor.com, which currently has a challenge to gather 5 million mentors.


Anonymous said...

I really like this post. I am a big believer in the power of mentors. In this digital era, it is easier than ever to stay connected and engage people who can be helpful. I think to maximize your career potential you need to proactively manage your career. A big piece of that is getting advice from others. The Gotta Mentor website you mention offers tools to more effectively engage people you already know, and find mentors who can be helpful to you.

It's not safe to assume that you're doing a great job just because no one has pulled you aside and called out your weaknesses for you. Mentors can give you that critical feedback so you're not unpleasantly surprised, and help you understand very specifically the keys to getting to the next step.

The final point I'd make is to consider having more than 1 mentor at any given time. Some might be more experienced, others could be peers. Getting multiple perspectives on an issue is really valuable and very easy if you use technology to engage others.

Unknown said...

Very apt post ! Mentors can make a difference, especially in public speaking. I feel it is more a mentee's responsibility to sustain teh relationship.

I can't forget what a mentee said about his mentor in Toastmasters- "When I met him, I was looking down. When I met him, i was looking up !"