Using your Mentoring Group as Peer Reviewer

One of my favorite concepts of self development is mentoring. My current mentor started mentoring me two years ago and has two mentees in total. One of the reasons why our mentoring is so successful is the proactivity of the people involved. Everybody is expected to bring new ideas and topics into the group so that we can learn together and from each other. In this short article, I want to elaborate a recent event that probably prevented me from making a fool of myself in front of a lot of people.

A couple of weeks ago, my mentor helped me with one of my current projects: The preparation of conference talks. My goal is to have a hand full of talks ready for upcoming conferences. So he helped me to develope some general ideas for talks and told me about different types of conferences. The following days, I developed one of these ideas into a talk that I presented to our group.

Although a lot of time was put into this, it turned out not to be nearly as good as I hoped. In fact, my peer group said the talk lacked of structure and a central theme. There wasn’t a real message for the audience. I as the one who worked out the whole thing didn’t notice that I put so much ideas and concepts into this talk that it became blurry and unclear. My co-mentee and my mentor suggested strongly that I should rework it.

This feedback came to me immediately and direct. One foundation of our mentoring is honesty which is a pretty good starting point for getting a good feedback on your work. Also, they gave me a lot of tips on how to improve the talk. However this is a bit hard to swallow, I will rework the talk from ground up and present it again to my peer group. Additional and unplanned work that saved me from a disgrace.