What tips do you have for somebody getting ready to lead their first book club discussion?
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Tips for leading a successful book...
Join Date: 10/11/10
Join Date: 10/16/10
RE: Tips for leading a successful book discussion
It's a bit obvious but to make sure the meeting gets off to a good start, you need to make sure that people know when and where it's taking place! If it's your job as moderator to remind people when and where the meeting is, it's a good idea to do so a couple of days ahead - especially if you're meeting in a different place or time than usual. If it's not your job you might still want to check in with the group leader to make sure they have.
Then, let people have a bit of time to chat and maybe grab a snack before you start the book club chat so that when you start talking about the book everyone is ready to focus.
Get an initial reaction from people about the book. It's quite likely one or two might not have finished it (maybe they ran out of time or just found it tedious) - depending on your group's rule this may not be a big deal - remember that book club should be fun, not a test! Having said that, if after a couple of meetings you find many people aren't finishing the books in time you might want to discuss as a group why this is and whether you need to be reading different types of books, having more time between meetings, or asking whether those who never seem to read the book actually want to be in a book club!
Have some questions ready to discuss but don't feel bound to them - use them to start things off and move things along if the conversation is getting off topic or seems to be exhausted on that particular point. Definitely don't feel that you have to go through a printed discussion guide question by question - there's usually way too many questions for that! If possible, look for ways to weave a new discussion point into the conversation so that the conversation flows naturally.
Don't be too rigid keeping people on topic - sometimes if somebody appears to be rambling it maybe genuinely off topic but othertimes they maybe trying to get out a thought that is important to them, perhaps something in the book has helped them understand an experience in their own lives - so don't be too quick to redirect them!
Use your role as moderator to make sure that those who want to express an opinion can and try to draw out quieter members of the group - but don't get frustrated if some people are much quieter than others as that's just the nature of some people!
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