Being an UI/UX Design mentor for the first time ever

(as an introvert and how to deal with it successfully)

I started my career in 2008 right a year after graduated as Jr. Art Director in a small advertising. I was once created a web design at that time for the biggest pipe company in Indonesia, Wavin. The rest were just like advertising typical jobs, created ads. Only lasted for 2 months, though. I had sleepless and thought that was not good for my health. I continued my career in 2010 in a small team IT agency which mostly the projects were the websites. I didn’t had any intention to be a web designer or something like that. But since that, I love web design.

In short, now I had total experience for over 7 years effectively in UI/UX design. I’m really passionate with UI & UX Design to designing digital products such as websites and mobile apps. I’m always hungry to learn about this, whether it is from the internet or even participated in a UX Design training for professionals level. I like to read the articles or ebooks about UI/UX Design as well, mainly there is no formal educations in Indonesia about that. So internet and informal educations such as trainings are really helped. I joined at least the chat group of UX community in Bandung regional as well.

At this October, I got contacted by someone from a digital agency in Bandung and they invited me to be participate as a mentor in a Bandung’s government program. Luckily Bandung city has a really great mayor here and very well known in my country. Ridwan Kamil is an architect also. So he has a good sense of art and good technology awareness. He made a program from youth citizens and it is only for Bandung’s citizens, named ‘Talent Bandung” and you can read the news about it here. So as you can see on the website link, there are some digital industry fields such as android development, web development, UI/UX design, games & animation and digital marketing for the workshop and it’s all free. The attendees should be studied as high school (trade schools) students and college students OR fresh graduates.They must have some basic skills and register to the program and there is selection also to screening the basic skills, mostly software/technical skills.

I thought this is a good chance if I can be one of the mentors for them and if I accept this offer. Good for CV hehe…and good for me to learn more as UI/UX Designer itself. I realized that I’m an introvert but I was very optimistic. I thought if I know what I’m speaking about, then it will be okay. If my position as a mentor, they would hear me. So this is a chance to speak about the thing I like, about my profession. Usually introvert are talking when it is needed or in a good mood. When it is in a bad mood, it is hard to always talking around people (especially if they are not long enough to know me). So I know, if I’m a mentor, the attendees would hear me. This is not the same with when I spoke around people in daily.

So for my session as a mentor, I got my turn to mentored at 1st Batch, 3rd class. It is about Information Architecture (IA). Thank Allah, I’ve found a good article in that have written about the whole IA process from start to finish so it can helped me how to write it down on Power Point (recently I just realized that Keynote now is free 😭). To be honest, I got the offer to be a mentor just one day before the workshop at 6 PM. Thankfully I understand and been doing all those steps that have written on the article in my work experience, so at least that article helped me to write my presentation and material in more structural way.

Of course I learned more about the topic, about the UX stuffs before it’s began. It s impossible to be a mentor without learning anything before the day. At least for me. So the 1st session of the training started at 9 am — 12 pm. I was on 1st session. I came on time, but not on time enough for free breakfast in hotel, duh! I’m so regret about it, by the way. There was technical stuffs that I and committees had to worked on before I started my class. I’m excited while also a bit nervous when I found out that the attendess are a lot more than I expected. Another mentor said there were 14 attendess for my class, but it is more than that apparently. I was a bit nervous when I and committees had to worked on for some technical stuffs before it started on my laptop in front of 22 people. But I tried to acted normal.

Hotel Lobby

They are all waiting for me, I said that to my self. So don’t worry, they are excited to be here. They have great intention to participate this workshop and don’t worry because they are all teenagers, not even professionals. So I have all the things that can be deliver to them which is very useful for their life in the future, I said it again to my self. I tried to keep calm and I can. Almost failed, because I had to left my 2 sons (toddler & baby) for 3+ hours at home with my husband which made me a bit worried and anxious. However, fortunately I had good experience to talked in front of people who watched me performed when I was a musician. That was really had a great impact to my workshop actually haha…

So I started with greeting them and asked what they’ve learned in the last session. And asked them that have they ever heard about IA. No one of them said yes. At least that was makes me more calm hahaha….And I asked them who are studied in the college and who are still in the highschool, mostly they are in highschool, good. I knew it since I came to the hotel and see a few very young people went to the 3rd floor. It was makes me calm as well haha…

My Class
My another 2nd class with the same attendees. Lesson: Interaction Design.

So I’ve listed here, how I deal with it (being a mentor) as an introvert. Don’t worry being an introvert is not about being a negative or bad person. Lot of successful people or CEO’s are introvert:

  1. Make sure you understand what you gonna talking/teaching about
  2. Make sure the participants are not more experienced than you, of course. Just in case you had this chance and the committees urgently need someone or some other bad reasons, no matter what. It could happen, right?
  3. Check back or do some research about the topic to make sure that you really know about it and or make you even know more about it.
  4. Watch some talk show or conference videos especially about the field that similar with yours and get the inspiration from them about how they talk, how they doing it. I did this also when I was a musician when I had a gig.
  5. Keep calm and think positive.
  6. Always remember that you are a mentor, not an introvert friend surrounded by extrovert friends. So the attendess will hear you and they need your knowledge. They are waiting for you.
  7. If the worse thing happen, perhaps at least you wouldn’t know it. E.g an attendee/mentee doesn’t like you or underestimate your material. You wouldn’t know it and just focus on why you’re invited here? Who invited you here? Are they who invited you are professionals also who know the thing that you would teach on the workshop?If so, then you don’t have to worry about it.
  8. Don’t forget to encourage attendees when they learn. If they make mistakes or not really good, that’s why they are learning. Tell them they are doing great and don’t be afraid to make any mistakes. That’s what I said to them and it’s makes me comfortable and relieved too after saying that.
  9. If you are an introvert and you are humourist, don’t be hestitate to add some humours. People like humours, you too. But just do it spontaneously. If you are humorist you can do it right haha…trust me. It works!
  10. Just be confidence. This class is yours. If you had been attended any workshops, good because it can inspired you.
  11. Always asked question to the attendees to break the awkwardness when you started. This is not only for introvert mentors of course, but this can help.
  12. Remember that we are human too as mentors so we can make mistakes too. Don’t worry, you can correct your mistakes in the next workshop (if any with the same attendees) or if only for once, you can says in the beginning or at the end that we learn together here both between mentor and attendees. Say again, “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes cos we all are learn here, I can make mistakes, you can make mistakes and that’s okay. Just keep learning.” You know say it ‘like a boss’ but that’s actually to cope your nervous and anxiety.
  13. Speak with clear and bold intonation. Even if the real of you is not like that. But you have to. How? Remember all the points above so it can increase your confidence level.

Here’s my slides for the 1st & 2nd classes:

So, if you know someone who are still studied in school or college or just graduated and have Bandung’s ID Card, I really recommend him/her to register to this program. Because after finished the program they are going to work as design interns in startups. This is very good chance. Most of all because it is totally free and not only one workshop, there are 8 workshops instead that should attend!!