Bringing It All Together
All week, I’ve been writing to you about your resistance fears to starting or participating in a mastermind group – or a group of any kind, really.
Today, I want to give you some concrete tips that will make your meetings go more smoothly. These tips will help everyone in the group overcome their fears, and will make the meetings productive – and profitable – for everyone.
Tips for a Positive Group Experience
First, before the meeting, keep a concrete schedule. Make sure everyone knows when and where to meet, whether in a physical location, on the phone, or on a webinar.
Try to keep the meetings to the same place and same time every week (or month, or however often you’re meeting). Also, try to get together for around the same amount of time. This way, everyone will know what to expect and how to schedule their other responsibilities around the meeting.
Also, keep each other informed if something does come up. Nothing will kill a group faster than confusion and frustration. If you’re planning on a group of five and only two show up, those two aren’t going to be very happy. It also can add to a negative spirit in future meetings. Just keep the line of communication open with each other.
Lastly, and most importantly, have clear goals for the meeting. Everyone needs to have the same expectations going in. What do you want to gain from the group? What do you have to offer the group? Make sure everyone knows what to expect from each other and what is expected of them.
Either before the meeting or during the first meeting, discuss clearly the purpose for the group. Meet in a room with a whiteboard or trade emails. And write topics for discussion each time you meet. Jot down a list of what everyone wants to discuss, and start going down the list.
During the meeting, stay focused on the positive. That is the only way people will learn from a meeting like this.
Also, be courteous. Everyone deserves the same opportunity to share their thoughts, as well as ask for help. Make sure no one is being shut out of the conversation. This is where having a set moderator is helpful. He or she needs to be alert. If someone is being ignored or quiet, the moderator should actively engage them. If someone is starting to hog the conversation, the moderator should direct attention to those who haven’t spoken in a while.
There should be some amount of structure during the meeting, but also room for freedom and fun. Your group really needs to strike a good balance in this area. If the meetings are too rigid, everyone’s creativity will be stifled, and no one will learn anything. If the meetings are too loose, conversation will quickly turn off-topic, and the purpose of the meeting is lost.
Balance the focus and creativity of the group. One of the best ways to keep everything on track is to have a moderator, as mentioned before. Everyone in the group should agree on who that is. However, the moderator needs to strike a balance as well. All are equals in the group –the moderator shouldn’t treat the meeting like a classroom. But everyone needs to respect the times he or she turns the conversation back to the topic at hand.
I hope this series of articles on groups has helped convince you to join a mastermind group. It’s nothing to fear. In fact, you have everything to gain from working with others. You’ll gain the knowledge and experience of other professionals. You’ll learn from them, and they will learn from you. You’ll stay positive and motivated. You’ll gain new ideas and be more productive.
I hope you’ll find and jump into a group soon. If you have any questions or comments for me, please share them with me by posting a comment below.
The Professional Writers’ Alliance
At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »