Lets assume you have opted for the 21st century mastermind group model, where the meetings take place on the phone instead of in person. Even if your original intent was to use the traditional face to face group meetings approach I strongly suggest you either switch to this virtual model for at least some of your meetings.
If you are outside one another’s geographical area the phone call approach is the only one that is both sustainable and cost effective over time. When you are from the same area you will soon find the time for face to face meetings difficult to agree on, so it works for you too.
When considering the first actual meeting of the group over the phone, someone needs to be the host for the first call. That person most often is the original organizer, although it does not have to be. Someone, however, needs to assume that role for the call.
The host’s role is key in this call. The host needs to lead at times, and stay out of the way at others. The host’s role is to keep the meeting on tract so that the goals of the meeting are met. The host should be on the call first to welcome the members.
The official start should ideally wait until everyone is present to start, however, if one or two people are delayed more than 5 minutes, then call should begin. Late-comers can be brought up to speed at the end of the call on what they missed by the host. The purpose of the group meeting call is to allow the members to meet, discuss goals and logistics.
The next step is to go around the virtual “room” and have each members introduce themselves in turn. If you have already set up your Yahoo group you may have already uploaded biographical information and other background details making the actual voice on the phone a key connection between what’s been submitted and the person themselves.
Set a timeline for this so the members can be selective with their comments and to establish early on a procedure that insures everyone a voice. You may find it helpful to draw a circle on a pad of paper before starting and them adding the names of them people as they arrive.
This will allow you to picture them around the table and any notations you make on the pad will be helpful when considering what’s being discussed and to note if someone is not participating in the conversation. Once this is completed, the host will move to the discussion of the mechanics of the regular group calls.
Finding a time to meet causes more face-to-face groups to collapse or never get off the ground than any other single reason. Everyone is busy with commitments and responsibilities so setting the time for a face to face meeting often dooms the process from the beginning.
The challenge of working out the day and time of the calls is handled more easily than with face to face groups. Often all it means is closing the door to your office and asking not to be disturbed unless the building is on fire and the fire department can’t get it under control.
Because at least one of you will likely be in a different time zone, so some give and take will be required, but since the only time being set aside is the actual time you are on the call, scheduling a time that works well enough for each person that no one misses a meeting – should be easily accomplished if everyone is fully committed to the process.
It is best to not leave any opening for further change of this established date and time as the time chosen will never be ideal for everyone. You need to make the commitment as a group and move on. People will adjust and soon get used to the day and time. Once the members see that value they get from the meeting, all else will be forgotten and the day and time will become a sacred one.
Remember your mastermind peer group is in a marathon not a sprint – stay focused but be flexible! BOLA TANGKAS