10 Tips for Getting the Most out of Mix n’ Mentor

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We're hitting Cairo next on February 21st with our first Mix N' Mentor of the year 2015! Apply here to secure your seat.

Mix n’ Mentor is designed to allow entrepreneurs and mentors to connect more deeply than they typically would in a pitching or investment environment.

But that doesn’t mean that entrepreneurs should show up to this- or any mentorship event- with a passive approach, simply looking to absorb knowledge from experts. It helps to prepare effectively, so that you can jumpstart a long lasting connection.

Drawn from our experience, here are 10 tips for getting the most out of Mix n’ Mentor or any mentorship event:

  1. Understand the format. To get the most out of the event, read up on the format. Understand that you’ll be rotating between tables and asking questions, as well as participating in talks and workshops. This is not a spectator sport; the more you put in, the more you’ll get out of it.
     
  2. Identify your challenges ahead of time. Think about the issues that you are specifically facing. Come armed with questions that you’d like to ask mentors and experts, to ensure that you can get help on your startup’s most pressing issues. 
     
  3. Prepare a quick introduction and a few starter questions. You’ll be asked to introduce yourself and your business, in 20 seconds or less, often throughout the event. Bring business cards and make the idea- and your challenges- clear and concise. For example, a good introduction could be "Hi, I am Tarek, I am a developer, I co-founded Batata.com two years ago to allow people to buy groceries online. We are currently self funded, and I am hoping to get tips on how to fundraise and scale my business."
     
  4. Know who the mentors are. Check out our experts on the Mix n’ Mentor page, and do a little background research to understand how to leverage their experience. The right question helps them advise you, by speaking directly to their expertise. 
     
  5. Listen to your fellow entrepreneurs. Check out the attendee list ahead of time, and prepare to connect with peers, who could be potential clients, partners, or future employees. While you’re at the event, listen to them just as much as you listen to the mentors. Connecting with a peer facing the same issue can be just as valuable as connecting with an expert. 
     
  6. Think about how you can help others. It’s important not just to think about how the event will benefit you, but about what you bring to the table when it comes to helping others. Approaching others to listen and help is a great way to connect genuinely, in all facets of life.
     
  7. Don’t hijack the conversation. It’s important to introduce yourself quickly, but a mentorship event is not an ongoing sales pitch. It’s important to tell your story, but hogging the spotlight too much or jumping in on every question could leave the crowd with a bad impression. The more you can link others’ ideas together, the more you’ll be seen as a team player, a plus when it comes to potential investment and future advice.  
     
  8. Don’t be afraid to share. This is one context where being too shy or protective could actually hurt your business. The more you can open up and share your ideas, the more others can help you and the more you can learn. Don’t forget- ideas are a dime a dozen; success is about execution.
     
  9. Keep it moving. It’s great to open conversations, but be sure to go with the flow and not stick to any one conversation longer than seems necessary. The shift between tables is also designed to maximize your interaction, so go with it. If you’ve made a good connection, there will always be time to connect again later. 
     
  10. Take advantage of the fireside chats and the workshops. At the fireside chats and workshops, reflect on what you’ve learned during the day and take the opportunity to further ask the community any lingering questions.

And finally, keep the fun going beyond the event. Be sure to follow up with mentors, join and connect on our community on Google+, and keep conversations going; this is how we build an ecosystem together. Send us feedback on how it went. And if you liked your experience, you could even sign up for the next one in another city!

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