Have you ever witnessed someone under the age of 21 receive a text message? Within seconds of hearing the chirp notifying them of a text, their phone is open and their fingers are rattling away in response.
For years, I fought the text messaging movement, believing it was impersonal and would only lead to a generation that could not spell because using acronyms has become the communication dubbed as cool, taking the place of Pig Latin which was cool back in the day.
Today, texting is the way many of our youth communicate and if you work with them and want to continue making a difference in influencing and developing their lives, you must meet them where they are. Capitalize on what they are into and doing—and we know for sure they are texting.
I have found that texting can be a very useful tool when mentoring and below you will see a few examples of how I’m keeping teens motivated using text messaging.
1) Being an effective mentor requires consistency. A very simple way to use texting to ensure that you remain connected on a regular basis is to create a text message schedule. Using outlook express or your phone calendar you can set a reminder to send out an original text or you can have preset inspirational messages or quotes that are ready to copy and paste and send out during the week.
Monday is a great day to connect and say, “New week, let’s make it a good one!” This message is simply a reminder to start the week on track. It doesn’t require a response even though you may receive one.
Wednesday, it’s the middle of the week; and a perfect time to check in with a question that does require a response. Example: “Is your week going well so far?”
Friday, it’s the end of the week. Start the weekend by saying, “It’s FRIDAY! Have a great weekend, make good choices.” Or you can confirm the plans that you have set with your mentee. Frequency is based on comfort levels and the key is finding a balance that keeps the teen engaged.
2) With any teen it is important that a connection be established and maintained. Without the connection, results are at risk. A great way to make that connection is by showing a genuine interest in what the teen is involved in and remembering events that they have told you about. By using text messages you can begin to make an existing connection stronger or lay the foundation to begin building a connection simply by using text messages to follow up on special events or functions. Nothing says “YOU’RE SPECIAL” Like an unexpected text before finals, sporting events or any other events your mentee may be participating in. Again, using outlook express or your phone calendar you can set reminders for dates that are important to the teen.
This will help make your bond stronger and also tells the teen that you care enough to remember what is important to them and took the time to send them a personal message.
3) If you mentor leadership groups, sports teams or other small groups, having the ability to text allows you to reach out to multiple teens at any given time. By easily copying your message to other teens you ensure that the entire group stays motivated. This also gives them something positive to discuss amongst themselves until you meet with the group again.
Although texting will never take the place of personal one-on-one, face-to-face, time and mentoring—it can keep you connected while you plan your next outing or meeting.
About the Author:
Ian J. Humphrey is an award winning motivational speaker. He speaks to corporations, educators, and youth about his own fears of failure and how he overcame them to become successful.
Click the following link to learn more about: Ian Humphrey
OMG! I'm Keeping Teens Motivated by Mentoring Them Via Text Messaging
In the age of technology, mentoring isn’t what it used to be. In this article I will uncover how communicating via text messaging can be used to help you make stronger connections and motivate more youth with the push of a button.
1 - Creating a text message schedule will keep you connected to your mentee on a regular basis.
2 - Text Messaging is a great way to send well wishes to a mentee before tests, games or school activities.
3 - You can reach and motivate multiple teens by sending the same message to a group.
4 - Today, texting is the way many of our youth communicate and if you work with them and want to continue making a difference in influencing and developing their lives, you must meet them where they are. Capitalize on what they are into and doing—and we know for sure they are texting.