Managing the Over-Participator in a Mastermind Group Meeting • The Success Alliance
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Managing the Over-Participator in a Mastermind Group Meeting

Handle the over-participator in a mastermind group

By Karyn Greenstreet

Into everyone’s life, a little rain must fall. And into every mastermind group, an over-participator appears.

Here’s what it looks like, and here are 3 tips on how to deal with it.

The over-participator comes in many flavors, but the one that’s the most trouble is the member who hogs the conversation time during the Hot Seats, and doesn’t share the discussion with others.

  • When they’re in the Hot Seat, they ramble, telling all the details of their situation, even details that are not pertinent to the goal of their Hot Seat – the goal THEY set!
  • When they’re brainstorming around someone else’s Hot Seat, they share more ideas and ask more questions, per capita, than the other members. Sometimes they talk so much that there isn’t any pause for breath where another member could possibly enter the conversation.

With that in mind, here are some tips to help you move forward:

  1. Starting from a place of good intentions helps you deal effectively with this problem. If you approach this with the idea that the person is simply rude and obnoxious, you’ll do a great disservice to your member. Start with what the psychologists told me: the member is unaware that they’re doing it. Your mindset will affect the outcome.
  2. Decide how much time each member gets to speak, then stop them mid-sentence if necessary. Say something like, “John, you’ve brought up so many good ideas, let’s pause for a moment and let Jeff give some feedback.”
  3. Whether you meet in a physical meeting space or a virtual one, body language works wonders. Raise your hand in the “stop” sign (palm out towards the member) and say, “John, I want to make sure everyone has a chance to get involved with the conversation, so hold your thought. Anyone else have something to add?”

8 times out of 10, these will be enough to stop the member from dominating the conversation. There are exceptions to the rule, but that’s a story for a different blog post!

Remember, you are the mastermind group Facilitator. It’s your role and responsibility to make sure the meetings are successful and that all the members get their needs met. Facilitators often avoid dealing with difficult members, so draw on your courage and your sense of purpose, and take care of it immediately.

Check out my blog post about facilitating introverts versus extroverts in a mastermind group, which may be part of your over-participator situation.

Have you had this happen to you? Share your story in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “Managing the Over-Participator in a Mastermind Group Meeting”

  1. Great ideas. Let’s add to the list that setting an agreement for full and balanced participation st the start is key. What I find gets missed, however, is clarifying how we will handle overusing airtime (over-participation). Let’s agree on how we’ll name and handle that at the forefront. Maybe it’s a timer, raising the hand, etc. Be careful of the extrovert/introvert trap though. E’s need to think out loud – how can this be done honourably for all? I’s do not. How can safe space be made for all?

    1. Karyn Greenstreet says:

      For our groups, we set these expectations in the Group Guidelines and in the first few meetings, just to make sure everyone’s onboard with the discussion rules and the different thinking/processing styles.

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