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How to Organize and Run a Mastermind Session for the First Time

brian-mastermindHow did you spend your weekend? I took a break from the usual family time, and hosted a private mastermind session at my facility, here in Cebu, Philippines – and it was awesome!

I’ve been part of many mastermind sessions before, both one-off’s and regular sessions, however, I’ve never actually run one myself – ie. I’m the host.

After posting a few images on my Instagram account, as well as Facebook and Twitter, I started to get comments and questions on how to be part of such a group, or how to actually start one from scratch.

So, I thought it might be useful for you to put down a few tips on how I went about hosting my first session, including finalizing the mastermind group format and rules, so that if you decide to do it yourself you’ll have something to refer back to when the time comes around.

Selection of the Group

The foreign entrepreneurial peer group in the Philippines is a small one. And in the fact that we were wanting to limit inclusion in the group to only people that have their own business up and running already, and to those that are also very involved in the online space – this is due to the type of conversation we wanted to achieve – which focused heavily on marketing – and the numbers drop even further.

I talk more about this in a future podcast episode with Justin Cooke, of Adsense Flippers. We are both based here in the Philippines, and you’ll see that Justin was also included in this mastermind group (third from the right in the photo below).

With all that being said, however, the group we put together was the perfect balance between ‘traditional’ business, online business, affiliate marketing, online marketing and SEO, startup and consulting mindsets.

It was, quite frankly, a perfect group of people to get together. And this is what I suggest you do, if you decide to put together a mastermind of your own.

If you’re wanting to focus on creating a group of online business folks, don’t just put a load of bloggers together. Have some bloggers, podcasters, maybe a video marketer, an affiliate person and then someone that perhaps owns an e-commerce business – this way you’re getting the best of all worlds.

UPDATE: I had such a great response from this post that I decided to shoot a quick ‘drive-by’ video to capitalize on some YouTube traffic on the same subject. In case you prefer watching video, to reading, I’m embedding below:

Preparation for the Mastermind

As I’ve been part of several sessions in the past, I knew roughly what was needed to get the most out of the day. That didn’t stop me doing a little research in relation to online mastermind group agenda ideas, as well as how to start a mastermind group.

The general business mastermind group definition has changed a lot over the last few years, with the insurgence of the internet playing such a huge part of business growth. And here’s the thing – we could have literally just hired a hotel conference / meeting room and rocked out a great session – I’ve done it many times (and I’m doing it in London with two groups of awesome readers of this blog, too!). However, as the host of THIS mastermind, I wanted to make sure that all those in attendance got the most out of the get-together. So, I sat down with my team, and we put together a few ideas to make the session a little more memorable for everyone involved, which included:

  • Making sure everyone had a CRAZY FAST internet connection.
  • A large screen projector, and a good view for everyone.
  • Ample coffee brewed and ready to go, plus super cold water.
  • Mints and other candies.
  • Comfortable chairs, but the ability to stand if wanted.
  • Lots of power (the plug strips at Location63 are built into the desks themselves!).

I’m happy to say that my team did a great job in getting everything set-up for us, and when I arrived about 30-minutes before everyone else, all I literally had to do was plug in my laptop and I was good to go. Awesome.

Here’s a shot of the area after being fully prepped: 

mastermind-setup

Getting to Know You

Although several of us in the group had met each other, or knew each other from before, once we were all there, we took 15-20 minutes to have some general chit-chat before actually starting the session.

It was really beneficial, and I for one really appreciated it, because there was one person I had never met before and it gave me the chance to feel him out, so to speak,

Running the Session Itself

The important part of a mastermind session is to allow everyone that is taking part enough time to discuss what they want to talk about, as well as get feedback from the rest of the group.

It’s relatively easy to find and join a mastermind group nowadays, and I have been in sessions before where it’s turned out to be more of a free-for-all type of discussion, and although these are sometimes beneficial to those involved, I wanted this session to be a little more structured, so as to get some really solid takeaways in place for everyone.

So, a few days prior to the event taking place I sent everyone an email requesting that they ‘bring’ with them the following to share with the group:

  • One thing that was currently working really well in their business activities.
  • One thing they needed help on, were struggling with, or wanted to brainstorm on.
  • One resource, such as a blog, podcast, service, product that they believed others in the group would appreciate knowing about.

We also created a Google Doc that everyone had real-time access to, so that we could ALL update regularly throughout the course of the session – we ended up with pages and pages of notes, links and ideas shared – and everyone contributed to it.

We basically averaged around 1-hour per participant, in regards to discussion, which I believe is the sweet spot.

The inclusion of the projector and large screen turned out to be a major plus, as we would bring up our own websites, as well as others when talking about the above points, and more – it meant that eyes were focused up and front, instead of buried in laptops. This encouraged more conversation and interaction.

Here’s a quick snapshot from the afternoon:

mastermind-location63

In case you’re curious, here are a few of the web resources that we shared at our session – note, there were MANY more discussed, but because of confidentiality, I cannot share them here on the blog:

The Follow Through

Overall, the mastermind was a rip-roaring success.

However, all this would be completely and utterly pointless without some kind of follow through. So, we’ve decided to actually make this a regular bi-monthly get-together here in the Philippines (in a different city every time, so a little traveling locally involved – always fun!) and will be meeting up again in April.

At this session we’ll be following the same format as above, however, we will begin with discussing what we’ve done following this first one, in regards to actually taking action on the points we shared and discussed. This basically gives us all a certain amount of accountability, which I feel is needed, for sure – to make it all worthwhile.

Have you been / are you currently part of a mastermind group? Please share your experiences below in the comment section.

I’d also like to know if you’d be interested in creating a mastermind group yourself, in your city, but are struggling – perhaps we can do something here on the blog to help!

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