Not that kind of Master Mind

I’ve written before about how some super networkers have gone so far as create their own networking communities. Hundreds of people are familiar with these folks because of this. The only problem for less experienced networkers is that starting a networking group can be a bit daunting. How do you get enough people interested? Where can you hold events? How do you book speakers? Maybe it would help to start out a little smaller. A Master Mind group — a group of like-minded people who are dedicated to each other’s success — might just fit the bill.

I’ve seen and read about a couple of different styles. The one that I am currently using is a peer-counseling model. We’ve got about six people in our group and we get together once a month at various locations — sometimes someones office, sometimes at our local Chamber’s offices. Our meetings last between one and two hours and follow a fairly straightforward agenda.

First, we go around the circle and each person gets to talk about something good that has happened to them in the last month. The rest of the group cheers them on and gives congratulations as appropriate. We try to allot about two minutes each for this, though it will occasionally go on a little longer.

On the second pass around the circle, each person takes about ten minutes to present a challenge that they are having. The purpose is so that the other members of the group can make suggestions from their own experience. Sometimes there are offers of referrals and introductions, but there is no expectation that this is going to happen. Really the main benefit we gain is having access to the accumulated wisdom of the other members.

In the final pass, we each announce to the group some goal or goals that we intend to complete before the next meeting. We also review the goals that we each set at the previous meeting in order to see how successful we’ve been. Goals seem to have a much better chance of getting done when you’ve got someone looking over your shoulder.

That’s pretty much it. The victories, challenges, and goals can be personal or professional. They can also be of any size. We all realize that there are some months that setting the goal of “just getting through it” is all you can hope to do. Oh, and, of course, the other rule is that anything said in the meeting stays in the group unless the person in question specifically tells the group that it isn’t confidential.

We’ve been meeting now for about two years and we’ve seen each other through some good and some difficult times. They are some of the closest members of my network and I’ve really come to respect the amount of knowledge they’ve amassed over time. They’ve helped me out on several occasions and a lot of my success can be measured on how much I followed their advice.

Photo credit: John Manoogian III