The Beginner’s Guide To Mastermind Groups – Part III

By Ellesse

What if you’ve decided to start your own mastermind group? What are the things you should consider or take note of?

In reality, the 5 earlier steps of finding a mastermind group will still apply except that this time, the role is switched. Instead of appealing for mastermind leaders, you’re out there sourcing for potential members.

What Kind of Members Should You Be Looking Out For?

If your goal’s to find partners in a business venture, more often than not, you’ll require a team with various specializations. Perhaps someone who’s a business owner himself. Or another person with experience in marketing and promotions. Such as an accounts director in a major advertising agency or a newspaper editor.

mastermind groups
Regardless of what it is, it’s important for you to brainstorm on a list of required skills & criteria prior to that and slowly match it up with the people you know. While you may not get Steve Jobs or Seth Godin in your group, you’ll probably find yourself touching base with people you never thought would partner with you! You won’t know unless you ask, right?

If it’s very remote that you’ll ever find someone like that within your circle, start connecting with the grapevine and get the word out. At the same time, tap on your existing physical network and leverage outwards using the 6 degrees of separation method. These work even for goals that are seemingly more domain specific. Such as weight loss or parenting.

During the first contact with these potential members, avoid the impulse of recruiting them straight away. Spend some time instead getting to know them personally. Their skillsets, knowledge, likes and dislikes etc. During the interaction, grab the opportunity to find out their current goals, commitment and whether they’re open to the idea of joining a mastermind group.

Trivial as it may sound, getting to know your potential members is actually one of the most important part of this whole process. Because once you’ve managed to find someone who’s able to connect with you and jell with the other team members, the rest is easy. The chemistry’s likely drive and sustain the momentum within the team.

How Do You Conduct The Official Recruitment?

You can call, private message, email or even meet them up in person. Personally, I would prefer writing an email or private message prior to the meetup or call as this would give the other party, time to consider. Always remember to highlight the benefits of joining your team and trust that the subsequent face to face or direct interaction will affirm the chemistry. If meetups or phonecalls are not possible in your context, an email or private message is perfectly fine. As long as you’re comfortable.

So, how should you write the recruitment email? With a little bit of practice and a bit of creativity, writing such emails can actually be quite fun. Let’s play a little game, shall we?

Assuming I’m Amy Davies, a budding entrepreneur who’s starting a new line of kids apparel, this is what I’ll write in the email invite to Paulo Ralph, a renowned designer :

Dear Paulo,

My name is Amy Davies, an aspiring entrepreneur based in San Diego with a focus on designer kids apparel. Though I’m pretty new in the fashion industry I’ve already got some interest in a project team that would expand on an commercial idea to start a new line of kid’s apparel for the 3-6 year olds.

Given your reputation in the fashion design arena, it’ll be fantastic if you’re able to join us. And I’m sure you’ll be able to derive a lot of synergy from the group. Imagine having a business owner, lawyer, accountant, banker and accounts director to help you work through some of your professional as well as personal issues? Wouldn’t that be good reason for you to spend an hour a week with us?

We’ll be meeting every week via Skype to review some of our ideas for the initiative as well as our individual challenges so do let me know if you can be part of the team. Oh, by the way, do you happen to know George Andrews? He’s already a member.

I’ll be glad to meet up with you next Saturday to discuss this in detail. Till then!


Now, bearing the above draft in mind, take out a piece of paper and write your own email. After you’re done, read it out loud a couple of times. Get another person to vet it through. Does it sound sincere? Does it give a winning proposition to other party?

If the answer is yes, great. You’ve just created your own recruitment email!

What’s the Mode of Operandi?

In case you’re wondering, I’m referring to the way each review should be conducted. There are no hard and fast rules as it really depends on each member’s preferences. But here are 2 common structures that I’ve seen :

  • The Open Communicative Style

    Suitable for larger mastermind groups, there’s no stipulated review sessions and it’s usually conducted in private online forums or offline luncheons settings. Members pose their challenges to the floor and others contribute by responding, or benefit by reviewing other’s feedback. Even though this can save a lot of time, it may not necessary be suitable for everyone. Especially members who are least likely to air their issues in front of a relatively larger audience. Hence, don’t be surprised if you actually find smaller groups breaking off to work on their separate projects.

  • The Closely Knitted Private Teams

    Consisting of 5-6 members, such small teams are one of the premises of traditional masterminding. Reviews are conducted once a week, a month or even once a year. Either in person or via teleconferences, web casts and skype. How and when these are practiced in reality depends on what’s necessary to keep everyone on target. But no matter what it is, try to keep the review duration to be an hour or so, to avoid becoming too draggy and inefficient. Here’s a proven review process format you can consider :

Step 1 : Initiation
The team leader starts off welcoming everyone and reiterate the rules of the discussion, such as the 10 minutes time allocation to each person and some important guidelines from the code of conduct. He will then name one member to kick off Step 2 and keep the time.

Step 2 : Round Robin Updates

Every member who speaks up during his turn needs to focus on 3 key updates. First, whether he has any achievements or news since the last meeting. Though simple, this act has the power to motivate everyone and set the spirits high for the rest of the discussion.

Second, if he needs extra time and what he’ll be using this on. This will cue the team leader and signify the possible overrun.

Lastly, his challenges that he’ll like the team to brainstorm solutions for. During this while, group members can interact and make suggestions to the member. But after the allocated time is up, the team leader will aptly move on to the next member’s sharing.

Step 3 : Next Discussion’s Targets

Once everyone has completed their round robin updates, each member will be asked in turn again their targets for the next discussion. This helps to raise accountability and constantly engage each member’s involvement.

Step 4 : Wrap Up

Towards the end of the discussion, the team leader will express his gratitude for everyone’s presence and if necessary, ask each member to share their appreciation for a particular member.

If you’ve decided to try something different with your group, by all means go ahead. In fact, mastermind groups are one of the best platforms to showcase your creativity! However, if you prefer not to reinvent the wheel too much, I’ll recommend using the above mentioned review format during the first review and constantly modify as you proceed along.

With the above, I’ve come to the end of this Beginner’s Guide Series and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it!

Though this may come across as a pretty mundane topic, Masterminding is irrefutably one of the most powerful tools you can use to move your goals forward. I’m certainly a convert! What about you? Are you interested to join a Mastermind group too? Or have you just started a group sourcing for members?

If you’re, please share with us in the comments :)

Update : For your convenience, here’s the list of articles in this Masterminding series :


6 Responses to “The Beginner’s Guide To Mastermind Groups – Part III”

  1. mariam at 4:40 am

    Hi Ellesse,

    I enjoyed your series on the Mastermind group. You bring up a lot of valid points.

    Regarding recruitment, and seeing the way you broke it down, a lot of trust and communication is involved. Is this achievable online with strangers? It seems as though there’s a lot of “feel out” process involved. Traditionally, wouldn’t you go through an interview process in real life?

  2. Ellesse at 6:14 am

    Mariam, I always love your questions. They’re often thought provoking and bring up areas I may not have considered before. Well, you’re absolutely right on the trust and communication part. Seemingly unachievable. Especially with strangers. But like most challenges, they look impossible on the exterior. When you put in some little actions, you’ll realize it’s not that unachievable after all. Like the two of us. We’ve never met physically. Never even talked to each other on the phone. But the fact that you’ve gone the extra mile to write down a question and me popping over to your blog and writing you a comment is the best testimony!

    That aside. I’ve also personally private messaged people before on forums. And vice versa. Totally strangers but when you genuinely express a sincere desire to know others, they’ll slowly open up to you. Maybe not the first contact. Perhaps the 3rd and 4th email. And if they don’t at all. Well, that’s a signal you’ve to move on.

    Masterminding in itself can be intuitive. Naturally, it can be conducted like the way you mentioned. An official interview or something. But frankly, unless, the mastermind group you’re spearheading is very influential and popular that it’s desirable to be part of the group, it’s very unlikely that the people you want to be in the group would likely sit through with you in a official interview setting.

    That said, you’ll likely to achieve better results making it unofficial like a get-to-know skype discussion or a luncheon. But before that, do all the research you need to understand about the candidate’s background. Like his skillsets, knowledge etc.

    And you may be surprised. Sometimes, the person that makes the most contributions may not necessary be the most qualified ( in terms of knowledge) but the ones who’re most sincere to make a difference.

  3. michelle at 1:44 am

    I run an academy in a large real estate office. while ” training” seems to appeal to the newer realtors, we want to organize something for our seasoned realtors, specifically those who have achieved a certain award level. We are a large company, and therefore, I would be inviting about 30 people to an initial intro to a mastermind group. How do you suggest i go about introducing mastermind groups, deciding on how to form the group(s) and should the meetings be topic specific, with pre-arranged topics? I need some guidance on this….thank you

  4. Ellesse at 10:26 am

    @Michelle Frankly, there’s really no hard and fast rules. There’s a saying : different strokes for different people. Mastermind groups is a concept that’s largely advocated nowadays because people have applied the “Think & Grow Rich” observations and they work. Therefore, a good way to introduce this concept to them is to relate the concept of this book to them (i.e. how Napolean Hill did research on various multi-millionaires and derive the fact that most if not all belong to some mastermind groups). Sell the concept to them by bringing in some examples of how certain successful realtors or businessmen have used it with great effect.

    As for forming of groups, a few ideas, you can select 6 leaders and get them to choose the members they would like to be in their groups. Or you can randomly allocate them. The first method may be more “interesting” as it involves more interaction. But well, these are just ideas.

    Preferably, there should be a topic for each meeting. These topics can be goal specific, eg, how to reach next level of award etc. You can hold a presentation illustrating more about the topic to the whole class and then break them into their respective groups for updates/discussion. Then on a weekly or monthly basis, track the progress of each group against their goals. It gives an element of healthy competition to the whole exercise etc.

    Just some thoughts. Everyone else, please add on if you’ve got suggestions for Michelle.

  5. jabberedonion at 7:01 am

    thanks for sharing this. I found this really helpful because just a few hours ago, me and my friends thought about meeting up regularly to discuss about updates on our goals. that was before reading about mastermind groups. no one has even heard about it. i just found out about the particulars about this today.

    once again thanks.

  6. Ellesse at 7:45 am

    @jabberedonion Trust me, mastermind groups can work very well. The only major issue I see is the process of getting it started, selecting the members etc. But it seemed that you do have all this sorted out :)


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