Here’s a great way to end your monthly meeting on an informative, high-energy – and possibly profitable – note: Each member has 1 minute to introduce the group to a great new app, website, article, book, gadget, tip, concept, etc. that’s “new to them” within the last month. If your Forum so chooses, you can also make it a lottery, where each member adds a few dollars into the pot beforehand and then afterward the group holds a quick, blind vote to determine the best new item of the month. This means each of you walks out the door with a list of great beneficial items “new to you”, and one of you has a nice profit! and everyone is smiling.
For your next Forum retreat, consider completely unplugging all your electronic devices. This not only helps you avoid interruption and more easily focus on your group and your retreat purpose, but also lets you determine to what degree you are addicted to your technology. Your group can decide if one phone call per day is allowed to check in with your spouse. Otherwise, unplug it!
A Forum in Guatemala was having trouble with their monthly updates running over on time. They thought they had done everything right – everyone agreed to prepare their update form in advance, they knew to leave sections blank if there wasn’t anything significant to share, they allocated 5 minutes per person to share their update and they purchased a nifty, free-standing timer to pass around the table when people were talking. But soon people were ignoring the timer, claiming they still had important things to cover when the 5 minute timer started to beep. What to do?
A clever Forum member suggested that everyone prioritize each of the items on their monthly update form. The most important item was ranked #1, the second most important item was ranked #2, and so on. Then each person would share their update in order of priority, starting with number one and continuing in priority order until the timer beeped. This unexpectedly accomplished two things. First, it enabled them to stop talking when the timer beeped because they had already covered the most important points. Goal accomplished! But the unexpected second benefit was that it let the other Forum members know what was most important to the speaker. Previously, they had shared information in a linear fashion, reading down the page without regard to priority. Now they have a better context for what is most important and meaningful to the person due to the prioritization.
A Forum in Cleveland was having problems with their monthly presentations. The topics weren’t deep and meaningful and they were having trouble finding presenters to step up and present. To address this, the Forum decided to hold a mini-retreat where they met for an entire day (9am-6pm). Everyone in the Forum gave a presentation, approximately one hour per person. At the end of the day, the spouses joined them for dinner. People said they were exhausted but it was a huge value and well worth the effort. It got them back on track again with their presentations, everyone got value out of the day and their parking lot for future presentations was quickly filled again.
Has your Forum done anything unique or creative to get back on track? Leave a comment below and tell us what you did!
I received a message from a moderator in the New York/New Jersey area, recently hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. Several of his Forum mates had lost their homes or their businesses and everyone was struggling with the aftermath of the storm. Amidst the devastation and the chaos, however, his Forum had decided that they still wanted to hold their Forum meeting. What a beautiful testament to the importance of Forum and the support we give and receive during difficult times! Continue reading Forum Derailed by Hurricane!
As Moderator of his Philadelphia Forum, Joe reads the Forum mission statement at the beginning of every meeting. He says, “It’s a great way to remind everyone why we’re together.” Sam in Colorado prints their Forum mission statement at the top of the meeting agenda and he asks a different person each month to read the statement.
Does your Forum do anything unique or special to remind everyone why they’re together? Leave your comment below!
Before bringing a new member into their Forum permanently, Phil from Perth says they have a 3-month trial period. They vote at the end of the 3 months on whether the person can stay. They stole their process from the book Top Grading, by Bradford Smart.
Does your Forum have a trial period? Do you think that’s a smart idea? Leave your comment below!
A Forum in Nashville invented a new practice called Kid Turns. They let one member’s child go to the office with another Forum member for the day. The purpose is to expose their children to business and entrepreneurship through the lens of a trusted friend.
Has your Forum ever considered this? How did it turn out? Leave your comments below!
Forum members often use lingo and phrases that are specific to the Forum experience. We’ve attempted to decode some of the more interesting and /or amusing ‘Forum-speak’ in a handy Forum Dictionary. Consider it your ‘Urban Dictionary for Forums’. Here’s the first entry in the Forum Dictionary.
Scotch talk (noun.)
A discussion that is better suited for conversation outside of the meeting, over a glass of scotch.
“Take it off-line, Joe. That’s scotch talk.”
[box type=”info”] Do you have an addition for the Forum Dictionary? Let us know by leaving a comment. Take a look a the other terms in the Forum Dictionary.[/box]
I’ve been working with Forums for so long, the concept is like second nature to me. But I realize that there are quite a few of you reading this blog that may not have heard of Forums before. Or maybe you’ve heard of Forums but still aren’t quite sure exactly what they are.
In simple terms, here’s the answer to the burning question, “What is a Forum?”
A Forum is:
- A leadership peer group or peer advisory board of 6 to 12 business owners, entrepreneurs or high-level leaders.
- A monthly leadership exchange among peers who act as a personal ‘board of advisors’ for each other.
- A confidential and collaborative venue for sharing, learning and growing with like-minded leaders in a structured peer team setting.