The Jam Session Model for Mastermind Group Meetings
The Success Alliance


The Jam Session Model for Mastermind Group Meetings

Several months ago, I decided to experiment with a new model for mastermind group meetings, a combination of training and a type of “speed dating” for hot seats. I call these Jam Sessions, after the type of sessions where musicians play together on a casual basis, riffing off of each other’s melodies and ideas with no preparation. A Jam Session, in music and in masterminding, requires teamwork: the members are ready to jump in and support each other.

I want to share the results of these experiments and offer you some tips about how to make a Jam Session work smoothly. Participants loved the format and the energy of it so much, we did it again for several months. Now it’s a regular part of my mastermind groups and workshops.

The setup

You can use these Jam Sessions with your existing mastermind group in addition to regular meetings, or with a group of students to support them while they’re implementing the material you’re teaching them in your workshop.

I was looking for a short-format meeting that was high-energy and engaging. I designed these Jam Sessions to be one hour long. The first 15 minutes is a short training lesson on one narrow topic. This bite-sized education helps solidify a concept, perhaps sharing a mini case study, worksheet or checklist to get the point across.

The lesson is followed by 45 minutes of hot seats. Each hot seat is no more than 10 minutes. This means that the participant must be ultra-concise when they ask the group for help. Naturally, it also means the other members have to share their ideas, solutions and resources quickly so there is enough time for everyone to jump into the conversation. There are no clarifying questions during these mini hot seats, just the preamble and then jump right into brainstorming.

Some tips for successful Jam Sessions

  • Remind participants in advance about the length of the hot seats so they have it fixed in their minds. You can’t go over the 10 minutes per hot seat or you won’t have enough time to do many of them. Remember, these are not a replacement for a traditional mastermind group meeting were hot seats are 20-30 minutes each.
  • Remind participants to be concise in explaining their hot seat topic. The hot seat is only 10 minutes: if they ramble for 5 minutes explaining their situation, that doesn’t leave much time for brainstorming. They are not required to send a prep form to you, so instead, ask them to practice their preamble before the meeting so that it’s short and sweet.
  • Participants are not required to submit a prep form when they request a hot seat. Remember, this is a Jam Session — and like the musician version, the idea is to simply come together and play, without the formality of a traditional mastermind group meeting.
  • Your skill as a mastermind group facilitator will be tested and honed during these Jam Sessions! You have to be hyper-aware of the clarity of the hot seat topic and when participants are asking irrelevant questions or going off-topic in the discussion. Keep the hot seats tight and focused. If you’ve been wanting to hone your facilitation skills, a Jam Session is the place to practice!
  • While this is fun and fast-paced, you might find some participants speak faster than normal because they’re aware of the time constraints. This can be a problem for non-native speakers in the group. For instance, I have people from all over the world in my Jam Sessions, so the English-speaking people can’t talk too fast or the non-native speakers will struggle to understand what’s being said.
  • It’s likely that there will be more ideas to be shared than time allows. It’s your job to politely cut off the conversation at 10 minutes, reminding them that you want as many hot seats as possible.
  • Important: I don’t think a Jam Session should replace your traditional mastermind group format. There simply isn’t enough time in a Jam Session to dive deep and get to the crux of the matter. I would only use Jam Sessions in addition to traditional mastermind group meetings.

I hope you try this experiment with your own groups — and make beautiful music together!

Want to learn how to start a mastermind group? Click here to get my free video tutorial on how to create a mastermind group of your own.

2 thoughts on “The Jam Session Model for Mastermind Group Meetings”

  1. J.R. Russell says:

    There is no one that I trust more than you to try a mastermind experiment such as this. It sounds like it may have excellent application in topic-driven scenarios like training. Thanks for sharing the results!

    1. Karyn Greenstreet says:

      Thanks, J.R.! I wanted to think outside the box and find a model that would allow for 20 or more members to be in the room at the same time.

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