Do you want to empower the men in your community to get more out of life? Or maybe you just want to get some conscious conversations going, and you’re not sure where to start? Or you just fancy hanging out with some blokes and getting real? Then follow the simple steps below (which are based on our Quick Start Guide) to start a men’s group:
You don’t need a mass of people to start a men’s group, nor do you need to spend a fortune on marketing or faffing around with social media, Meetup, websites etc. You can quite simply ask around your friends and family and see who’s interested.
Do you have a friend who has a recurring issue? Ask him if he wants to join your new men’s group and get to the bottom of it.
Or maybe you have a couple of friends who you’d like to get to know better and you want to meet at more depth. Ask them if they fancy joining your new men’s group, so you can all explore how to get more from life and learn from one another’s experiences.
The ground rules are important for everyone’s safety, confidentiality, full participation, and personal needs. It’s important that everyone agrees because that way everyone takes ownership of the ground rules and it’s ‘a safe space’. If they don’t agree with all the rules, find out want needs to be amended to suit the needs of the men in the group, so that you know everyone is whole-heartedly checked-in to what’s going on.
The ground rules set the stage for a group of depth and authenticity. Sure, you could skip the ground rules and just jump straight in, and you might get the level of depth you were looking for, but it could take more time and effort and some people simply might not feel safe enough to open up and take part. People are more likely to jump in if they know what’s going on and where they stand.
These questions were crafted over years of holding groups and there’s a specific reason behind each of them. We find that by the end of the check-in round, everyone’s ‘on the same side’ and ready to step up to have a great group of depth and personal insight.Answers to the Check-in round questions will often give you ideas for topics to discuss during the rest of the meeting.
More often than not there’s a common theme that emerges from the check-in round - whether that’s careers, relationships or family issues, masculinity, authenticity, the role of men in our changing society, or something else. If it’s about purpose, you might say: “It seems there’s a common theme around purpose. Let's do a round and say how we get our sense of purpose, and if we don’t feel a sense of purpose, you could say when the last time you felt purposeful was.” (A ‘round’ is just when we go round the circle answering a question, or set of questions.)
I’m sure that you’ll find your ‘rounds’ will take on a life of their own, with different men contributing their successes and failures, fear and fantasies. (Be sure to remind people that they can say “pass” at any time!)
Some people think they have to have something special to say to come to a men’s group, or that their life has to be in shambles. You don’t need a good story, or bad drama to simply show up and hang out with good men. The truth is that sometimes the best part is listening and thinking “hey, that sounds like me!” New men tell us that they learn so much from men’s groups, that there are ways through our issues that might have otherwise never been considered and the big surprise is how much fun and laughter we share.
Interested in learning more about starting your own men’s group? Check out the free downloads and videos from www.mensgroups.co.uk/menfacilitate/ where we also have information about our full day facilitator training.
Do you also feel excitement of what might be, indeed who you might turn out to be? Let us know in the comments below.
"I think groups like this are hugely important, for men particularly, because there are so few other outlets for men to open up and talk frankly about their feelings without fear of embarrassment or being judged."
"In the first group I attended, I was able to vocalise negative thoughts and feelings that I had been internalising for months, and felt a weight on my mind immediately starting to shift. I felt supported, respected, and challenged to become a better person."
Jamie Rudman, Public Health Professional
"I got into mens groups after reading 'No More Mr Nice Guy' by Robert Glover. I feel like I've transitioned from a boy to man thanks to MenSpeak. Through it I've discovered purpose, passion, and my closest friends."
"I joined MenSpeak to share my life challenges during my separation from my ex-wife. I needed someone to listen as I felt I had no one to really turn to in a time of need. And this program saved my life. Literally."
John D, Computer Programmer
"I built an invaluable social network of great men and friends to share, connect and learn with. The groups have helped me become a better and authentic man, husband and father. The groups are priceless to help navigate the ups and downs of personal and professional life."
"I wish MenSpeak was available to me from teenage years. I have definitely been saved from experiencing enduring labels and problems that would have been labelled as "mental health problems."