This blog was originally written by Kristine Henne and can be found at https://blogs.anl.gov/mentoring/2018/03/08/id-meet-with-my-mentor-but-i-dont-know-what-to-talk-about/

Recently, we discussed the value in asking questions to keep a conversation going. What happens when you don’t know where to start?

One common answer I’ve heard when I ask mentees if they’ve met with their mentors is, “I would, but I don’t know what to talk about.” Well, that surely can make keeping a conversation going quite a challenge.

When pressed… mentees will disclose a variety of topics they’d like to learn about, skills they’d like to develop or areas in which they’d like to improve. You can almost hear the “click” when they realize they can use these as discussion topics with their mentor. Someone just has to ask that question, “What do you want?” That someone can be a mentor, a peer or preferably, oneself.

Some tips that the article suggests are:

  1. Think about where you’d like to go and what can help get you there.
  2. Do a self-check to see what your current comfort level is with each topic.
  3. Write questions to ask your mentor about each topic and script your next meeting.
  4. Bring it all together by planning your mentoring meeting.

For the full article click the link above.