You cannot beat learning from peers in a confidential environment, sharing your frustrations, meeting fellow Comms pros and getting solutions to your problems.

I love creating situations for IC pros to work like this and have a guest post for you today to demystify my Comms Director Masterminds. I launched them earlier this year to be a private place for senior practitioners to invest time in themselves and their careers.

Not sure what a Mastermind is? They are 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.

Further reading: What is a Mastermind?

Sounds good on paper, right? But what is it really like to attend a Mastermind with me? I also run them for existing and aspiring Comms Consultants as part of my Exploration and Momentum Masterclasses and with Comms teams.

Today I have a guest post for you by Pat Mossop, @patmossop, Head of Communications and Engagement in the Organisational Development & People Governance Team at Turning Point. He’s shared a behind the scenes look at my Mastermind sessions, which I hope is helpful if you’ve been thinking about coming to one.

Pat came to my latest Comms Director Mastermind. You’ll see me publicise them on Twitter @AllthingsIC and Instagram @RachelAllthingsic, but I never reveal who attends (unless people volunteer to share the fact, like Pat).

There’s a maximum of four attendees and everyone has a whole hour focused on them. I have a closed Mastermind group on LinkedIn, where conversations can continue between us afterwards.

My September 2019 Comms Directors’ Mastermind is full, but there are places left for 13 November 2019. If you are the most senior Comms pro in your organisation, do check it out. I’m setting Masterclass dates for January 2020 onwards at the moment. I’ll be offering new Mastermind sessions focused on different topics and for other job roles, more info coming soon.

Here’s Pat…

What is it like to attend a Comms Directors’ Mastermind?

Having been at one of the first All Things IC Masterclasses back in 2016, I’d always been a fan of Rachel’s work and the Masterclass format. How Rachel supported the conversation, hanging back when needed, speaking up and guiding at other times really made the day, along with hearing the experiences of peers and building ideas together that I could take away to implement almost immediately.

In terms of the all the development I’d been a part of in my 15+ years in communications – degree, professional development, on the job learning, coaching, mentoring etc. – this Strategic Internal Comms Masterclass had a big impact on me, coming at a time of change in my career and a desire to be better and look outside my day to day role more of the time, getting over the cycle of being ‘busy’.

Looking at development as my career progresses, it’s natural that more will be under my own steam and taking on board learning from peers doing great stuff, sharing what I can myself and being more open to new ways gaining support I might not have considered before.

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

Logical next step
When the opportunity to join a Comms Directors’ Mastermind came up, it felt like the logical next step, one year into a new job I was (and still am!) really enjoying and being challenged by in equal measure.

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.

Post author: Pat Mossop.

Thank you Pat, it was fantastic to hear your thoughts and questions on the day, thank you for sharing your Mastermind experience here.

Would you like to come to a Mastermind with me? You’ll find them on the Monthly Masterclasses page. I also host VIP sessions for Comms pros and bespoke sessions with teams where I join them for a day or two to help think through strategies, discuss upcoming plans and focus on whatever is top of mind. You can see all the options via my Work With Me page.

I signed the contract on an office space in London last week, which I’m hugely excited about. It will be a new home for All Things IC’s Masterclasses and I will be switching over to that site from January 2020. I’m currently creating the plans for the space with my Interior Designer Nikki Rees, and there is one room in particular that will be the home for my Masterminds. It *may* include plans for a teal sofa…

Learn about Internal Communication with Rachel

The dates for my remaining Masterclasses for 2019 are all on my website. Your investment is £599 +VAT per course. Nonprofit organisations and CIPR and IoIC members can benefit from a 20% discount. See the monthly Masterclasses page for all you need to know.

Are you new to internal communication? If so, my upcoming Internal Communication Masterclass on 1 October or 29 January 2020 is for you. It’s taking place in London and is suitable for people working in internal communication who are looking for a confidential space to learn, ask questions and air their challenges and ideas.

Perhaps you’re fairly new in role or have found yourself responsible for IC. Or maybe you’ve never studied comms before and would like to learn more. This is the course for you.

(If you’ve been working in comms for more than five years, the Strategic Internal Communication Masterclass on 14 October or 11 February 2020 will suit you better).

You’ll leave with practical skills and confidence to:

  • Understand the role of internal communication
  • Know what the different communication channels are and how to choose
  • Combine theory with practice
  • Know the latest trends
  • Understand planning, strategy and stakeholders
  • Know what’s working and how to make the most of what you have (measurement).

What’s it like to attend a Masterclass with me? Read blogs by Advita Patel and Jenni Kampf

Upcoming courses are:

What do you think of what you’ve read? Do you have any queries about my Masterminds? Feel free to get in touch below or send me a note.

Thank you for stopping by

Rachel

First published on the All Things IC blog 17 September 2019.

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