Mastermind Alliances 3 - 10 Quick tips
FACILITATORS – 10 QUICK TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR MASTERMIND GROUP RUNNING SMOOTHLY.
It’s all about democracy
Consider using the very first mastermind meeting to discuss all group rules and take a vote on them. Let your group make its own decisions about how the group is structured, the number of people in the group, when it will meet and for how long, what the theme or focus of the group will be, what topics are permissible or out of bounds, and whether a new member can join.
Members should decide on the rules of how the group works together and what the punishments are for not following these rules.
Members should also decide on the tone of the group.
In this way, the group decides how to meet its own needs.
Play the appropriate role.
Decide if you are a facilitator or a member, or both, and act accordingly. If you are simply the facilitator, then you don’t get a vote in group decisions unless the decision directly affects you (e.g., the time or location of the meetings).
As a facilitator, your sole job is to keep the meetings, and the group administration, going forward.
Even if you are an expert in the field that is the theme of the group, your voice should always be heard last, to give the members a chance to mastermind among themselves.
Otherwise, members may look to you as the guru, and all cross-member masterminding will come to a grinding halt.
Make the meeting a safe place.
Attending mastermind group meetings is a very deep and personal experience, and over time, as rapport builds, members will want to share some very private information about them selves.
As the facilitator, it is your job to create a space in each meet in where members feel safe in expressing their true selves, their hopes and fears, and the real things that are happening in their lives.
When members do share difficult personal thoughts and feelings, give them room to express themselves and verbally tell them it’s okay to share in this way. However, be on alert for members who consistently use meetings as a psychotherapy session. If they repeatedly bring emotional problems to the group but never take action to move forward, gently take them aside and explain the rules.
Remind members that this is a confidential space, and discussing other members’ situations is not allowed outside the meetings. If necessary, ask members to sign a confidentiality agreement, especially if they’re talking about ideas that could be patented, trademarked, of copyrighted.
Have a structure.
It’s a good idea to have meetings on the same day and hour each week or month so that people can block out that time in their calendar. Have a structure of how each meeting will progress –
Open the meeting – Share success stories – Mastermind time – Share resources – Close the meeting.
The largest portion of time should be for the mastermind time, when members take turns sharing their goals and challenges and everyone asks questions and gives advice to that member. This keeps the meeting from deteriorating into a chat or social session. Some mastermind groups work from a book, selecting a chapter or exercise to work on in each session, which helps to establish a structure.
Keep track of time.
Use a timer with an audible buzzer to ensure that everyone gets an equal amount of mastermind time.
Use a talking stick.
Decide in advance the order in which members will speak at each meeting. In my groups we rotate so that each member gets to be the first speaker once in a while then, when it’s each member’s time to talk, he has the floor exclusively and no one can interrupt until he is finished sharing.
Members often find instant clarity through verbalizing their situation and thoughts, and it’s imperative that this time be honoured with silence from the others.
Keep the conversation going, when appropriate.
As with any group discussion, there are normal quiet times when members are processing information or thinking of new ideas. As you learn to facilitate meetings, you will be able to discern this quiet thinking time from the awkward “I don’t know what to say next” time.
Awkward times will show themselves as people shifting in their seats or not making eye contact. During awkward pauses, be prepared to jump into the discussion by asking a question or moving to another topic.
If you use are using LinkedIn or an online message board as part of your group communication pre create some conversation starter questions so that when things get quiet on the message board, you’re ready with a thought-provoking question.
Gordon Banks needed.
One of the hallmarks of mastermind groups is that members share their goals each month.
Keep a record of these; goals help members find clarity, focus, and potential.
Read them back to the group at the next meeting and ask members if they have achieved their stated goals.
This creates a sense of integrity and accountability by reminding members that they are committed to completing a goal if they voice it.
Discipline where needed.
Sometimes, members will keep speaking even after their allotted time, also one member may shoot down another member’s ideas during brainstorming sessions. Members might show up late or not show up at all. Members might voice goals and constantly miss achieving them each month. These types of members must be reminded that the purpose of your mastermind group is to help people achieve their potential and to help each other work through challenges and decisions in a balanced and democratic fashion.
Don’t let small problems like these go unremarked. Pull the offending member aside and remind him or her of the rules.
Be ready to fire a member.
If the situation gets too bad, you have to be ready to fire a member from the group. It’s a good idea to discuss the situation openly with the group and reach a decision about what to do with the offending member.
You’ve read how to create and run your own mastermind.
Here’s what we suggest you do next:
State your goal.
What kind of mastermind group do you want?
For what purpose?
Create a plan.
How will you look for members?
Take the first step.
Announce the first meeting
Get the ball rolling.