How internal communicators can benefit from Masterminds

When is the last time you sat in a room with other internal communicators?

Perhaps you’re fortunate enough to have a team and regularly spend time working with each other.

Whether in-person or in a virtual room, you can’t beat listening to and communicating with peers.

One of my favourite methods of listening to others and asking for advice is Masterminds. I’ve been using them in my work since attending a conference for entrepreneurs in 2017, run by Chris Ducker.

I find them an invaluable way to sense check, solve problems and spark ideas.

What is a Mastermind?

A Mastermind is an opportunity for you to get help with something you’re stuck on.

It’s a group brainstorm which is focused on helping everyone succeed individually and collectively. Each person shares their thoughts and you hear ideas and opinions from others.

All Things IC Hub teal sofa and chairs

AllThingsIC-Inner-Circle

How do Masterminds work?

Masterminds typically take place in a small group.

Everyone in the group has a turn at sitting the hot seat (you don’t need to move) and you set a timer. Sessions usually range from 5-10 minutes per person, or you can do a speedy one like I experienced at Media Influence Live in 2018, where we had 45 seconds per person to talk, then a couple of minutes for input from the group.

They are an integral part of the All Things IC Inner Circle, which is where I work with a group of up to six in-house IC practitioners for six months. We have a monthly two-hour confidential Mastermind via Teams. Our latest one was yesterday and my brain is still buzzing from the conversations. Everyone had 25 minutes each in yesterday’s hot seat.

During your allocated time you share your thinking with everyone in the room/on the call. They then pitch in with ideas, asking questions and challenging you. This means you enjoy the collective wisdom of a group of peers.

How can internal communicators use Masterminds?

I use Masterminds in various ways with internal communicators. For example, my Comms Director Masterminds have up to five attendees and take place in person at the All Things IC Hub.

They are suitable for experienced internal communicators such as Comms Directors, Heads of IC or Senior IC Managers. You don’t need to do a lot of preparation, just come ready to share something you are stuck on or would like to ask for advice from your peers and I.

We’ll sit together on the chairs pictured on this page and spend time together discussion with each other, offering advice and listening.

Upcoming dates:

If you are the most senior IC professional in your organisation, save your place today.

Please note our prices will be increasing on 1 February 2023, so book today to benefit from 2022’s prices.

2023 Mastermind dates

What’s it like to attend my Comms Director Mastermind?

Pat Mossop wrote about his experience of my Masterminds a few years ago What’s it like to attend an All Things IC Mastermind?

Pat wrote: “The nature of internal communications means an expert sounding board is sometimes more likely to come from outside rather than in.

“Leading up to the session, I was a little apprehensive but being introduced to the other participants a week before the session and being impressed by the variety of brains to pick got me the in right head space for it.

Following introductions each person gets around an hour in the hot seat to discuss the area(s) they want to bring to the session, tackling it as a group along with Rachel and finding new ways of seeing that you hadn’t considered before – suddenly my 15 years in comms had been multiplied by five.

Some of it was open questions, some direct advice, some sharing experiences of when it had gone right before and equally when it had gone wrong – all building a rich picture of what I could do next.

The session is completely confidential in terms of who attends, but I can share there was a good variety of industries, professional experiences and career histories that attended and meant that we could all come at internal communications and the areas discussed in a different way.

Reflecting on it, I got just as much from listening and contributing to the discussions as I did around looking at what I wanted to bring to the group during my turn to share.

If I was to do it again, I would listen to Rachel’s advice and perhaps prepare a little less aggressively as the conversation, like any conversation, flows naturally and my hour flew by.

I’ve rethought some pretty firm plans based upon attending and used the feedback to feed into conversations with key stakeholders and my team about where we’ll take things next as well as launching new initiatives on the back of it, and reprioritising/killing off a few others too.

If you get the chance to take the hot seat, do it.”

Thank you Pat.

 

Comms_Director_Mastermind feedback

 

Learn about internal communication in 2023 with All Things IC training courses.

Have you ever used Masterminds in your work?

Could 2023 be the year you try something new and introduce Masterminds to your team meetings?

You could use them to test out an idea before presenting it to a leader or stakeholder, or bring a challenge you’re facing to your team and ask for their input.

Do let me know how you get on,

Rachel.

Post author: Rachel Miller

First published on the All Things IC blog 5 January 2022.

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