Tips for using Slack with your Mastermind group

Also known as the “Software Engineering Ass-kicking aLliance”

Recently I joined a mastermind group. We meet weekly via Google Hangouts to talk and discuss our week. While is great, sometimes you need to talk before the scheduled meeting. We’ve got 2 options open to us, an email list and a private slack channel. I have found that the slack channel has been very valuable and makes this mastermind much more powerful. Let’s talk about some slack mastermind tips to make you as successful as you can be!

What is a mastermind?

Most people point to Napoleon Hill’s classic book “Think and Grow rich” as the canonical mastermind definition. It is basically a group of like minded people who meet to talk about their business and goals. By talking with a group that is similar to you in terms of experience and skills you stand a much better chance of accomplishing you goals.

For me, a mastermind provides the following:

  • A place to bounce ideas off of people who (because of the make of the group) probably have some really good perspectives
  • “Public” accountability. If you tell this group you are going to do something, they will ask you about it.
  • A tribe of like-minded people.

That last one is important: Sometimes we need to talk to someone who knows what we are going through. Friends and family can’t always provide that, and a “tribe” who can listen and give great input is invaluable.

My mastermind is based on the Entreprogrammer’s model. Its pretty awesome, you should check out our recording so see how we do what we do.

We record all of our meetings. The rest can be found on this playlist: Entreprogrammers Team Seal Meetings

What is slack?

Slack is basically a chat tool.

Its an idea that has been reborn many times over the years. One thing that does set slack apart is the user interface is nicer than a lot of its predecessors. As of this writing (late 2016) slack is the new hotness, but honestly you can substitute any text oriented program that can have multiple people seeing the messages. (Note that this doesn’t mean email, but it can be made to work)

Its all about communication

The main strength of a mastermind is communication between the members. Ideas are shared, questions are asked, help and support is given. Let’s see how to do this effectively. Here are my Slack mastermind tips:

  1. Be logged in
  2. Set your alerts “correctly”
  3. Participate
  4. Try to keep discussions as public as possible
  5. Don’t feel you need to respond right away

Let’s examine these tips one by one.

Be logged in

This might seem obvious, but it needs to be said. Slack has apps for desktops, phones, and tablets. Even if you don’t have the app “on” you can still get alerts about conversations that are going on.

By being logged in it lets your fellow members know you are invested in the group. It will also help engage you into the conversations that pop up in the slack channels.

Set your alerts correctly

Just because you are logged in it does not mean you have to respond, but you do need to know something is happening.

Here are the settings I use for my alerts. I find these to be great at letting me know when conversations are happening, yet not bogging me down.

  1. Turn off the email notification
  2. Turn on the notifications for “All activity”

That second one might seem a bit extreme, but most of the time I find my mastermind group is pretty on-topic and if there’s a conversations going on I will want to know about it.

Participate

This might seem obvious, but I’m going to put it out there: You get out of this what you put into it.

This mastermind is there for you to improve your business. The conversations in the slack channel are going to have a focus on that. You should participate!

If you find yourself not participating, you need to examine why that is. Is the group on topic? Are you really interested in your business growing? If the answers are no, then you need to examine what you are doing.

In my mastermind I’ve been able to let everyone know about a interesting books and other time-sensitive offers. And I’ve been able to learn about some important mindset things I didn’t realize I was facing!

Public discussion as the default

Slack has the ability to have private one-on-one conversations, or even to break off into small chat rooms.

At times this is very useful, but with a small group like a mastermind I’d recommend keeping everything in a channel that all members can see. The advantage of this is that you never know when someone will be able to randomly contribute something to the conversation.

Also, if someone is unable to join the conversation at that moment (see the next tip) slack can serve as a “transcript” that they can review later.

Remember, the mastermind is a cooperative effort. Speak your mind.

“When” to respond

Life happens. Sometimes you just can’t join a conversation in slack. This is ok.

Slack is by design an “asynchronous” conversation. People respond when they can, and others by keeping it in the public rooms you allow others the chance to chime in.

Keep this in mind as you chat, it might take someone a few hours to respond. This doesn’t mean anything other than they were probably busy. If you have something urgent to discuss with one person (or the group) you should probably take steps to let everyone know that.

Slack Mastermind tips

These are the actions I’ve taken to get the most out of my mastermind group. Your mileage will of course vary as every group is different. The common theme of communication should always be there.

What tips do you have for using Slack? Are you using slack for your mastermind?