Friday, January 22, 2010

Digital Tools That Help Mentoring Communication by Amy Lam & Vicky Sullivan

We have come to rely on certain digital tools to efficiently manage our communication with our mentoring partners. Here are 4 free tools that we think everyone should be familiar with and how we personally use them:

  1. Google Calendar is a virtual day planner similar to Microsoft Outlook.

    How Amy Uses It: "I like to send meeting requests so my partner not only gets a reminder (that syncs with other applications, e.g. Outlook), but I have the peace of mind when I get a confirmation email stating that they've accepted the meeting. My friends and I also allow schedule sharing so when we make plans, we automatically know each others' availabilities."

  2. Google Reader compiles digital content from different sources all into one place.

    How Amy Uses It: "I set alerts for my mentors' names and companies so I get up-to-date news and gain further insight on their professional environment. I'm also always curious about what people choose to pay attention to or where people get their news so this tool conveniently allows me to receive (and share!) resources from other Google users."

  3. Skype provides phone service from anywhere in the world using the Internet (as a side note, they provide instant messaging, file transfer and video conferencing as well).

    How Amy Uses It:
    "I actually haven't used it yet in a mentoring situation, BUT it was potentially a great way to talk with my mentor when she was traveling outside the U.S. last year. The calling service is free, but the drawback is that both you and the other user must register in order to use it together."

  4. LinkedIn is a social network geared toward professional and career development.

    How Vicky Uses It: "It was a great resource for researching my mentor before I met him. I found out where he went to school, where he has worked and what mutual connections we had--even how he looked like so I knew who to look for in my initial mentoring meeting. You can also ask your mentor for a recommendation on LinkedIn and use it as a reference source."
Amy Lam is an online marketing manager at Direct Brands, Inc., responsible for enhancing brand experiences and generating conversions through all Bookspan's e-commerce sites.

Vicky Sullivan is the New Media Manager at Advertising Women of New York.

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