Facilitating Introverts and Extroverts in a Mastermind Group
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Facilitating Introverts and Extroverts in a Mastermind Group

Facilitating introverts and extroverts

By Karyn Greenstreet

We all know there are two personality styles, introverts and extroverts — and they are polar opposites of each other, right?

I wish it were that simple.

Introversion and extroversion are on a line, a continuum. That means there are shades and nuisances to how much each person displays either extroversion or introversion behavior.

Sometimes people will lean strongly to one side or the other on that continuum, but often people exhibit mixed tendencies, especially in a trusted group setting where there is rapport among the members. For example, an introvert might be shy around new people, but very gregarious around his mastermind group where he’s been brainstorming for six months.

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Let’s define what we mean by these terms:

An introvert builds energy by being alone and expends energy when in a group setting, like a mastermind group. Being an introvert doesn’t mean a person is shy; it means he needs quiet time alone to process the outcome of the mastermind group meetings and recharge his batteries before he wants to get back into the group mode again. He does find it helpful to talk through a problem with the group, but he likes to have thought through the problem on his own before the mastermind group meeting.

An extrovert gains energy when she is out in the world, especially brainstorming with a group of people. She’s excited to share ideas and process her thoughts verbally in the group. She often gets her best ideas while talking through a problem with others. Sometimes as she’s talking, she comes up with her own solutions before the group brainstorms together! The act of talking clarifies and organizes things in her mind. Though she can prepare in advance before the meeting, some of her best insights come during the meeting itself.

How do you facilitate a mastermind group that includes both types?

An introvert needs quiet time, even a minute or two, to collect his thoughts and reactions to a given problem or situation. He prefers to prepare for his hot seat on his own and gain insight as he is completing his prep form before the meeting.  He finds it helpful to get prep forms from others and think about each member’s situation so he can be fully prepared for the meeting. When new information arises in another member’s hot seat, he needs some time to think about it before commenting. Giving the entire group a few minutes to write down their ideas on their own, before sharing, can give the introvert the space he needs to process.

On the other hand, the extrovert needs time to talk out loud, to process her thoughts while she’s actively communicating with others. Knowing this, you can allow the extrovert a few minutes more during her Hot Seat to explain her situation: she just might find clarity (or even solve her problem herself!) simply by talking openly about it. However, be aware of your timing during these hot seats. The more the extrovert talks, the less help she can get from others.

Between meetings, give each of these types a way to communicate with the entire group, possibly through an online message forum or email chain. The extrovert will appreciate the ongoing connection to the group and the introvert can take his time to process internally, then communicate at his leisure.

 How can you tell if a mastermind group member is an introvert or an extrovert?

It’s not possible to pigeon-hole someone and label them as “all introvert” or “all extrovert,” but there are tendencies to one side or the other that you can (and should!) pay attention to:

  • an introvert makes more frequent and sustained eye contact
  • an extrovert will appear energized by being in the group situation
  • an introvert will appear to think before he speaks
  • an extrovert jumps right into the conversation and thinks while she speaks
  • an introvert may disappear during coffee breaks, or talk deeply with one person
  • an extrovert will enjoy talking to 3 or 4 people in a group during coffee breaks
  • an introvert may seem shy around the group in the beginning, until he gets to know everyone better
  • an extrovert will interact with everyone in the group, even in the beginning, because she loves to meet new people

As a mastermind group facilitator, being aware of these two personality types and giving each what they need will foster a tight, powerful group.

Related blog post: I’m an Introvert – Can I Be a Good Mastermind Group Facilitator?


2 thoughts on “Facilitating Introverts and Extroverts in a Mastermind Group”

  1. Corinne McVitie says:

    This is so helpful. Often I have these 2 types of people in my mastermind groups and the extroverts can really take over if we’re not careful. I know they don’t mean to take over and I don’t want to imply that they’re doing it on purpose, but this post helps me to give a framework to share with the extroverts so that THEY can recognize the introverts.

    Thank you. Great post.

  2. I agree, Corinne, helping each type to recognize and understand each other is a key training opportunity for you as the facilitator. Then they can communicate with each other better.

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