Mastermind Meanderings

For the past ten years I have been a part of a mastermind group. We meet for a half day about every six weeks in each other’s homes. The purpose of the group is to discuss our speaking businesses and encourage and give advice in what we can do to increase business or run our offices more efficiently

The speaking business is a lonely business even though we may be in front of several hundred people in any given week. We travel alone, we often eat alone, and we may be away from home on a regular basis. So the chance to meet with other speakers is a way to regroup and recharge our batteries.

You do not have to be speakers to have a mastermind group. You need a few people whom you trust explicitly and for whom you have great respect to share ideas on a regular basis. Probably no more than five should be in your group in order for each person to be heard and opinions to be expressed. The time we spend together is not only about business, but the discussions often include seeking advice on personal matters and sharing ideas on child-rearing or vacation plans.

To make this special group work, you need to be consistent in meeting on a regular basis. Don’t let any other activity interfere with your meeting date. Our only exception is if one of us lands a speaking gig for that date! Even then, if you cancel you are responsible for setting up the new meeting date.

An agenda is sent out a few days in advance of the meeting by the person who is hosting. The topics can be of that person’s choosing. Usually one part of the agenda is a new technique or idea that can be helpful in our businesses, and we always include time for personal sharing. For example, at our last few meetings a topic of discussion was how we can use social media to make our businesses more profitable.

The host is responsible for a meal—usually breakfast. Occasionally we will reserve a room at a local restaurant instead of meeting in our homes.

After a speech, we’ll recommend the other two for next year’s event if we feel there might be a match. Since each person’s area of expertise is different we don’t compete for the same business.

At Christmas, we meet to celebrate and usually take the afternoon and much of the evening. For this gathering, we don’t discuss business. We’ll each choose a restaurant so that we have different parts of the meal at different restaurants. Joan Fox, John Wagner, and I enjoy being together even without discussing business.

You may belong to a variety of groups and think that the last thing you need in your busy world is to join another group. But I encourage you to belong to one more group—a mastermind. As Margaret Meade wrote, Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

Stephen D. Boyd, Ph.D., CSP, is Professor Emeritus of Speech Communication, College of Informatics, Northern Kentucky University, near Cincinnati. He presents keynotes and seminars to corporations and associations whose people want to speak and listen effectively. See additional articles and resources at To book Steve, call 800-727-6520 or email him through his website.

Steve Boyd
Steve Boyd
Stephen D. Boyd, Ph.D., CSP, is Professor Emeritus of Speech Communication, College of Informatics, Northern Kentucky University, near Cincinnati. Steve won the Toastmasters International Speech Contest in 1970 and was chosen Outstanding Professor of the Year at NKU in 1984, among other awards and honors. Since retiring, he volunteers with nonprofits, spends time with family, travels, preaches occasionally, and enjoys reading and writing. Contact Steve at (859) 866-5693 or at

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