A mastermind group requires a quiet, private place where people feel comfortable sitting for two to three hours. Select a spot with room to park that’s safe and convenient for everyone in the group.
Mastermind Meeting in a Coffee Shop?
With my music business mastermind group, I was fortunate enough to have a conference room in my office with comfortable chairs, good lighting, and access to beverages and restrooms. It was quiet and private. Check with your members to see if anyone has access to a space like this.
My Austin-based Internet marketing mastermind chose to meet in coffee houses. They were comfortable but were not ideal for mastermind meetings. First, they weren’t private. Strangers would often be seated within earshot, and if the shop was crowded, finding seating for a group of six could be a challenge. Also, there was usually music playing in the background and it could get fairly loud.
But probably the worst part of meeting in coffee shops is that it created too casual an atmosphere for a business meeting. Members often arrived late and left early. We’d have people walking in 20 or 30 minutes late, and the meeting would stop while everyone said hello. Then the newcomers would go line up for coffee and we’d end up spending 10 minutes catching them up on what was covered before they arrived.
We also occasionally had people show up on time or a few minutes late and announce that they could stay for only a few minutes but wanted to drop by and say hello. A coffee shop makes it easy for these types of things to happen. It seems natural due to the environment. The same people wouldn’t dream of doing this if you met in a conference room.
So, though a coffee shop is okay for the initial get-together when people are meeting for the first time, find a different, permanent meeting place before your second meeting.
Meeting in Private Homes
Some mastermind groups choose to meet in members’ homes. Either they meet at the same place every week or rotate, with a different member playing host each week. If you decide on this approach, make sure every member of the group is comfortable with the idea. If it’s not unanimous, don’t do it. Hosting five or six people for a few hours isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. However, if everyone feels comfortable with the idea, go for it.
Conference Rooms and Other Alternatives
If you can afford it, you can always rent time in a small conference room in a hotel or executive suite. With everyone chipping in, it isn’t that expensive. You can often find free meeting space at community centers, public libraries, chamber of commerce centers, churches, and other public spaces.
If you’re having difficulty finding a place, I suggest checking your local newspaper’s group meeting calendar. Most newspapers or entertainment weeklies have a list of meetings for various groups in the area. Also, check to see if Meetup.com is active in your area. Check to see where these groups are meeting. Then either contact the location or the group to see if you can use the space, too.
When I lived in a small town, there weren’t a lot of meeting rooms available. The chamber of commerce had a room, but the space was booked so far in advance it was impossible to reserve it for two or three hours on a weekly basis.
Ultimately, we contacted restaurants in the area until we found one with a private room they’d let us use. The room wasn’t being used at lunchtime and was perfect for our needs. An added advantage to meeting in a restaurant is that it encourages people to arrive on time. We arrived at noon and took a few minutes to socialize and order lunch before we got started. We still would occasionally have people arrive late, but our situation was a bit unusual. Two of our members drove in from as far as 50 miles away.
If you decide to go the restaurant route, I suggest finding a place that serves not only good food but a nice variety. The first restaurant we used offered a nice private room, and the food and service were good. However, it was a Mexican food restaurant, and after a couple months, everyone was tired of Tex-Mex. So we moved to the Cedar Grove Steakhouse, a place with a nice variety, healthier fare, and a private room with a view.
If you’ve got a group now, let me know where you’re holding your meetings by leaving a comment below.Tweet
Mtn Jim Fisher says
Is a campfire too casual? 😉 http://www.campfiremastermind.com/virtual-campfire-cherry-popped/
Heather Taskovics says
These are some fantastic meeting place resources you have recommended!
Mtn Jim Fisher, I think sitting around a campfire is a great place to hold meetings. Reminds me of the Native American elders and how they would hold their meetings around a fire to have discussions and do all their decision making for their tribe (which, in essence, is what these mastermind groups truly are–TRIBES).
Thanks so much!
mtn jim fisher says
Good point Heather!
Pass the “talking stick” and the peace pipe! 🙂