Communication & Connection

Communication & Connection | Best Practices

  • Be PROACTIVE! Don’t wait for your mentee to reach out; take the initiative and engage.
  • Be ADAPTABLE! Ask your mentee their preferred connection method (i.e. email, in-person) and try wherever possible to accommodate.
  • Be RELATABLE! – share your authentic College experiences with your mentee. Express genuine interest in getting to know your mentee. Understand his or her background, career and personal interests, and what motivates them. Ask open-ended questions (i.e., those that require a sentence as a response, rather than one or two words).
  • Be ENERGIZED! Communicate enthusiasm about what you enjoy regarding the program/school/services. Let your mentee know that you’re glad he or she is here.
  • Be RESPONSIVE! Reach out to your mentee regularly, especially during early transition time. Ask how s/he is doing, what questions s/he has, if there is anything that s/he needs help on, etc. Be creative and flexible with how you communicate with your mentee.


  • Be an ACTIVE LISTENER! An average person speaks at a rate of 130 words per minute, yet our brains have the capacity for listening of 800 words per minute therefore our mind has a tendency to wander unless we work hard to listen.

6 Tips for Active Listening

1. Give Your Full Attention Avoid dividing your attention between the speaker and other things going on around you. Make eye contact; make a mental connection in an effort to follow the speakers thought process, read body language.
2. Use Conversation Coaching  Say “go-on”, “I’m listening”, “your right”, “I see”, etc…
3. Ask Questions Questions show interest and attentiveness.
4. Suspend Judgement Grant the speakers his or her right to speak. Understand and appreciate unique point(s) of view.
5. Paraphrase What the Speaker Says Example, “let me see if I understand you”, “you’re saying that you”…
6. Don’t Offer Recomendation(s) Too Quickly Give yourself time to fully contemplate what the speaker has said. Remember, sometimes the issue initially presented isn’t the underlying issue.