My colleagues and I have done a lot of reading and investigation on social media and we are huge proponents of using social media as an effective tool for creating dialogue and building relationships. But for all of its strengths (and there are plenty), we did notice that many of the social media tools lack a fundamental element – physical interaction. I know, I know… you’re probably saying: “Duh! Social media is about online activity and content creation” and you’d be right… but we wondered: “how cool would be if we could somehow meld the technology, convenience and functionality of social media tools with actual real-life interaction.” And then it hit us – Mastermind Groups!
I’m a skeptic, so I assume everyone else is as well. And I know that if someone came to me and pitched the idea of a Mastermind Group, I would probably ask if that was some cheesy 1970′s game show… but hear me out, there’s some merit to this concept. Here’s how it works; basically you use social media tools (as well as your professional and industry networks) to identify the thought leaders in your industry, professional, cause, etc. You then assemble a small group focused on a particular topic and invite the thought leaders to join and participate in the sharing of ideas, concepts, theories, etc. These “mastermind” groups would be able to share expertise and experiences to create fresh, new concepts or to improve existing best practices. And the formulation of different research and documentation can be facilitated using social media tools like Google Docs or Huddle.
Here’s an example. Say you’re in Public Relations (PR) and you want to learn from the best and brightest in the PR field. You could identify some of the leaders and innovators in PR (for Canadians, a good start would be the CPRS), speak to them about your Mastermind concept and invite them to join your Linkedin group (which you would have to create). Here you could raise discussion questions and have them input and you could host local events where some of these thought leaders could get together and informally talk about their experiences, the challenges they see in PR and some new and innovative trends they see in the field. You could then record the information in a document and share it with the group using Huddle so they can provide input and remarks. This document could eventually become a whitepaper for PR practitioners looking for best practices.
The skeptic in me would ask: “why would anyone want to participate and what’s in it for me?” Good questions. Most thought leaders are passionate about the areas in which they are experts. The advancement of their field, industry, cause, etc. would be a great incentive to want to participate. Also, the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals and learn new things would attract individuals who are constantly looking to build their knowledge base. And what’s in it for you? The opportunity to get involved in an initiative that will advance your profession, industry, cause, etc… as well as to learn first-hand from the best. Who wouldn’t want that?
I’m not saying that this Mastermind Groups are for everyone, or that it will undoubtedly work, but we have been fortunate enough to launch the concept and the results have been phenomenal. If nothing more, it has demonstrated to some who are hesitant to embrace social media that the possibilities extend beyond the screen.
Let me know what you think of the Mastermind Group concept.