Software for MasterMind Groups
8th November 2016
Software for Masterminds
Can an online platform make your existing MasterMind group run more efficiently?
MasterMind groups are one of the highest leverage groups you can participate in. Perfect for increasing your business knowledge, support and advice and a sounding board for ideas and inspiration from within a group of like minded people. Anyone already in a group knows the benefits to them, but we are going to talk about a more efficient solution to running your group.
Most groups tend to use Skype, Google hangouts or other similar free software. Whilst free is good there are always limitations. Setting up the Google hangout link and emailing it each week to the group is time consuming and the new hangout layout is not universally liked by many. Although only a minor problem it can be cumbersome and somewhat painful to use. Skype tends to use work pretty well and they also advertise that you can have up to 25 people on one call although (Not sure a group call that size is particularly productive) Personally I have often had quality issues with Skype just with regular one on one calls and even voice only calls (no video streaming) Regular drop-outs and “hello can you hear me” are a common feature of a Skype call. The in-message features work well but you may have to toggle between the full screen and the condensed view to see any messages that are sent back and forth.
In the last few years there has been a boom in custom WebRTC platforms for meetings, training and coaching. The distinct advantages are that you can customize both the meeting screen layout and add special features or functionality that Hangouts and Skype don’t have, usually because their mass audience may not need this specific functionality.
Timing of your MasterMind
Most groups meet for a set amount of time and you want to encourage everyone to stick to the agreed timing as close as possible. This means both showing up on time and finishing on time. Having a structure and someone to keep track of the time is very important to help with the flow of your meeting. Allowing someone to run over their allotted speaking time means that someone else within the group misses out. A designated timer keeps you on track and avoids any animosity towards the more verbose members.
Admin Role – In a self-run MasterMind group there needs to be an admin person. Someone willing to do all the grunt work of emailing, follow up, notes, recordings, creating links, timekeeping, setting the agenda, recruiting new members – the list goes on. It’s often a thankless task and quite time consuming. As a result this role is not easily shared so it’s often the same person each week. Your group either needs a born organizer or at least someone prepared to do the extra work to keep the wheels in motion. If they lose interest then the group can falter unless someone else is prepared to step up and do the job.
Recordings/Archive – Skype does recommend both paid and free plugins for recording both audio and video for your sessions. You then just need the extra step of storing these files so they can be accessed easily by everyone in the group at a later date. Using an online storage system like Dropbox or a Google doc is a simple enough hack. Google Hangouts is more native in the fact that you can record from within the hangout but the catch is it’s done via Hangouts on Air, and these are broadcast live to your YouTube Channel or Google Plus page. To record something private (like a MasterMind meeting) you would need to use another form of recording. Not difficult but another layer of “things to do.
Not quite technology related but if you group suffers from some attrition (drop-offs to you and me) then someone within the group needs to ensure that there are additional newcomers joining to keep the group from folding. A MasterMind group can be anywhere from 2 people upwards (although 2 is more like an accountability partner) to a reasonable maximum of 8. Numbers can easily be higher for an in-person group but online requires smaller numbers as you miss both the eye-to-eye contact, physical body language cue’s and small time delays in receiving communication that give the meetings a completely different dynamic. Having a vibrant group that all know each other is the ultimate game but we all know that not everyone is as committed and there will be some attrition. So having someone else do the screening and recruitment allows you to just focus on your goals.
Allocating and randomizes the roles and responsibilities, set structures to choose from, auto-recording both the meeting and the minutes, and allows you to group email your tribe with a question if you are stuck all adds up in both time and friction (The harder something is to use the less likely you are to want to use it) This leaves you to just concentrate on creating the most value and creativity within the group.
As a single factor maybe none of these improvements add up to a compelling argument to switch from manual to automated, but when you stack them all together and way up the total benefits of a done for you system your MasterMind just might be a better run group.
How precious is your time and how much will you save?