More than ever, mentoring is becoming a vital aspect of career and professional development. Organizations, companies and individuals are seeing the tremendous value in these formal and informal exchanges. It is only right that networking merges with mentoring to create better connections, meaningful relationships and stronger networks.

Listed below are ways in which you can use your networking objectives to cultivate mentoring relationships.

Half Full / Half Empty

Whether the mentoring is formal or informal, you get what you put into it. View the experience in a positive way and reap outstanding rewards and benefits. View it as a “must” to do or obligation and you lose the essence of the whole purpose. In other words, enter into the relationship with goals and a plan for productivity and success. Be committed to the initiative and active within your correspondences. Show good faith, credibility and trust.

Reverse Roles

In this day and age individuals and organizations are redefining the roles of mentors. Seasoned professionals are being guided by their younger counterparts in non-traditional situations. Especially within the millennial generations, seasoned pros are learning more about technology, social media and various marketing aspects in regards to networking and development.

End in Mind

It is true, all good things come to an end. The mentoring relationship may not last forever. Be sure to have a time line or length of period in which you hope to complete the mentor exchange. Be open minded to transitioning your mentor/networking experience into a colleague relationship, customer/client relationship or even a sponsor relationship.

Hopefully, these tips and suggestions can establish a strong foundation for networking and building relationships in a productive manner. The keys are to be open minded, receptive and goal oriented for the most optimum results.