Advising from a Distance

HPE advising allows people to connect with entrepreneurs and business advisors from all over the world. It can be challenging to build a relationship without the benefit of meeting each other in person. That said, distance advising can be both fun and productive.

Here are six ways to make distance advising more effective:
  1. Allow time to build the relationship: Distance relationships tend to grow at a slower pace than face-to-face relationships. Without meeting in person, it can take more effort to get comfortable and build trust. Be patient but consistent as you establish expectations in your new advising relationship.
  2. Strengthen your commitment: Avoid falling into the "out of sight, out of mind" trap. To create accountability, consider creating and signing an agreement that defines your level of commitment, including when, how, and what you'll communicate with each other.
  3. Plan ahead: Schedule advising meetings in advance. Avoid canceling a meeting unless there is an emergency, and reschedule immediately if necessary. Consider creating and sharing an agenda in advance, making sure to start and end on time, and summarizing the discussion and agreements before ending the meeting.
  4. Listen actively and avoid interruptions: If your advising meetings will be on the phone, active listening is especially important. Sharpen your sensitivity to subtle changes in tone of voice and pace of speech. To avoid misinterpreting each other, frequently check to ensure that you're in agreement. Eliminate distractions by turning away from your computer and preventing interruptions from co-workers. During your phone calls, give your match your complete focus.
  5. Use technology for better communication: Video chat solutions like Skype and Google Hangouts allow you to develop a more personal connection. Vary your communication styles to see what style works best for the relationship.
  6. Be spontaneous: Call each other to check in and share news. Share articles, resources, and ideas relevant to the relationship and work plan.