Trevor Burgess interviews David Garcia – Using Communication tools for mentoring

About the authors

Trevor Burgess

Trevor Burgess

Senior project manager of Bridging the Gap in the UK, interviews David Garcia.

David Garcia

David Garcia

Learning & technology consultant at Rinova in London. He also runs his own interactive audio production company in Malaga. In this podcast, David shares his experience in mentoring in the videogames sector and talks about the most useful communication tools for creative enterprise mentors.

Simple online tools available to everyone

Except for basic communication tools (telephone and emails), mentors may choose from a range of options, such as social networking, online collaboration and productivity platforms. Group chatting, video conferencing and document collaboration are easier than ever, and are useful in many areas of our life — both private and professional.

Video and web conferencing provide a way to have face-to-face meetings without the need for travelling. Personal communication is crucial in creating a bond between the mentor and the mentee. Video and web conferencing tools include Google+ Hangouts, Skype, Zoom, Ring Central and many more.

For those mentors, who try to reach a wider community, social networking sites might be the most effective tools. Commonly known sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedln, YouTube, and many more, are great channels for marketing and sharing useful content.

The last set of tools (productivity platforms) should be chosen depending on our personal preference, needs and goals. Google offers a wide range of products that enable collaboration via the internet. G Suite set (that includes Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Drive, Google Calendar etc) might come in handy while organising the work between the mentor and the mentee. Another well-known, similar option is Office365/ Office online. Slack, GroupMe or Google Hangouts provide a space for online chatting between co-workers, as well as file sharing, storage, video calling etc. Calendar tools (Google Calendar, Doodle, Outlook…) are great for time management and scheduling team meetings. When it comes to managing projects, progress and teamwork, applications such as Trello, ClickUp, Any. Do and many more are known to be reliable tools.

The key to success in mentoring projects

It is a fact that communication is one of the most important factors that determine the success or failure of a mentoring process and informal learning. As many mentors and mentees know very well, being able to interact with each other on a regular basis and whenever each of the two parties feel it is necessary lays the foundation for a smooth process, which allows for better results and self-confidence.

The importance of effective communication is documented throughout the mentoring experience, as there are certain points in time when our mentees feel vulnerable and in need of guidance. This happens not only because they have a lot of questions about the field to which they are new, but also because a lot of unexpected issues come up and the mentees do not know how to proceed next. This is becoming more significant these days, because of the COVID-19 restrictions and the isolation that the whole world is experiencing. Thus, proper and frequent communication is necessary for the well-being of the mentees. However, it is very important to mention that mentors, too, have the same need for regular communication with their mentees, as this gives them the opportunity for more feedback and they can plan their future sessions in a more effective way.

Therefore the questions that follow are the following; which communication tools are mostly used by mentors and mentees, what are the advantages and are there any disadvantages that we need to know about?

The Network Roadmap, which has been developed as part of the Bridging the Gap project, is such a helpful and efficient tool for mentors, as it can provide answers to those questions. It presents many options that cater to different people’s needs and preferences. It is a fact that as mentors, we tend to use the digital tools that we already familiar with. Therefore, many of us prefer to do our mentoring process, interact with young entrepreneurs and plan our projects using the same technology that we use in our everyday life. Examples may include our personal social media. However, it is important that we remain open to new ideas, that we know all the options that are out there and how they can help our professional obligations and support our mentees in the best possible way. This is very important these days, as there are so many new digital tools, with so many different features that it is becoming harder and harder to keep track of.

The Network Roadmap provides solutions to this problem and offers a selection of modern, easy to use and effective tools for different purposes, such as communication, project management, storage, presentation, suit and mentoring. It can assist us to find the most suitable tool, as it offers a concise description with the most important characteristics. It contains not only the famous ones, but also other less popular tools that may be useful for us. Even if we choose not to use all the tools that are on the Network Roadmap, we can still benefit from gaining a better understanding of what technologies are available and perhaps use them in the future, when the need arises.

Overall, it is important for all mentors to always want to become familiar with the wide selection of technological tools. The Network Roadmap is a valuable resource for every person engaged in mentoring processes who is interested in professional development and technology.

Communication tools – Wenancjusz Ochmann

(podcast with subtitles)

About the author

Wenancjusz Ochmann

Wenancjusz is a senior mentor in Foundation ARTeria, Zabrze (Poland). He is sharing his experiences in using "Break-in the desk" framework and Creative Project Canvas.

Simple tools are best

The digital transformation of the world is progressing very quickly. In recent years representatives of the art sector have created a number of interesting works on the topic of the challenges posed by the digitization of the world today. In the work of mentors in the creative sector it is important to use digital and online tools. This is why this part of the BtG project was particularly interesting for me – I’m a practitioner in using digital resources.

My many years’ practise in work using online tools allows me to say that there is a priority need to create an ecosystem of tools for mentors to give them support and guidance in selection of technical and communication tools. These tools could be especially useful in the pandemic situation, but not only in these untypical times. Tools for innovative communication and exchange of practice are always a very important element of all processes in supporting creative enterprise and start-ups, and also in mentoring.  The Network Roadmap provided interesting and useful suggestions in the use of technical communication tools and the processes used by mentors and mentees in creating their P2P relations.  

I like the form and descriptions of the tools available on the project website. This could be helpful for users, who hadn’t any previous experience with some of them. I have some comments as a practitioner about my favourite ones, which I suggest could be the best for the mentoring process.

hammer, nail, sky

Essential tools

In terms of communication tools – if I have to choose between Whatsapp, Telegram and Slack I would recommend WhatsApp which is definitely the best! This is because of its universal availability, easy exchange of photos, voice memos and a very good quality videos and it is not complicated to use. When working in groups I would recommend Slack, which is a platform giving opportunity to communicate on many levels and with many people. As far as storage tools are concerned – Google Drive wins. It is much better than Dropbox or One Drive. It wins first of all thanks to the large market coverage of Android devices and because of easy integration of the phone with the computer. 

For presentation tools, if I have to choose between Powerpoint, Prezi or Google Slides, I have to say that in the creative sector I usually make presentations most often in PDF using Illustrator or InDesign due to the speed and availability and full control of the layout, which is very important for graphic designers.

In my opinion using these tools supports developing an innovative learning resource that can be used in practice by mentors and mentees in supporting young creative entrepreneurs. This could also be the base for internal communication. 

Finally I would like to say that this tool – the ‘Roadmap’ which is a visual and interactive resource that provides a toolkit of communication tools, networks and resources available for supporting creative start-ups and developing innovation is a great idea! This interactive infographic of tools that mentors could use in their daily practice provides a much needed repository of the most useful information.


About the author

Dariusz Bieniek

Still looking for his way. A man of many passions, pulling all the magpies by the tails.

Experience in testing phase Training materials Communication tools (IO3)

About the author

Cristian García-Espina Adank

Cristian is an experienced technician of international project and has participated in the piloting activities of the Bridging the Gap project. He speaks about this experience in testing phase Training materials Communication tools (IO3).