A typical meeting of my pro book club is held around lunch time in a conference room at my job and lasts for about an hour.
Everyone spends the first few minutes getting their food from the lunch buffet, generously provided by my company. During this time, I (as the meeting facilitator) distribute the handouts, make any general announcements, and go through introductions. If there is anyone new to the group, I always make sure to introduce myself, welcome them to the meeting, and ask everyone to go around the room and introduce themselves as well. Even in a relatively small company, don’t assume everyone knows everyone. Introductions are helpful. And pro book club meetings are a great way to get to know people in your company you otherwise may not interact with.
Once everyone has settled in, I like to start off the meeting with a video related to the book we’re going to discuss, if possible. For example, when we read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, we kicked off the meeting by watching her TED Talk. This gives everyone a chance to finish eating, and also helps to put the book into context.
After the video intro, we launch into the discussion, using the handout with the questions I’ve prepared as a guide. I don’t limit myself to these questions, though. I try to really listen to what people are saying about the book and build upon the conversation as it unfolds naturally. If there’s a lull in the discussion, I redirect it using my notes or another one of my pre-written questions.
As the meeting winds to a close, I like to finish by directing people to my handout, first going over the supplemental links I’ve provided, and then reviewing options for the next book to read and soliciting suggestions from the group.
Not all book club meetings will go exactly like this, but at least it gives you an idea of how a typical meeting might flow.
Be sure to check out the other posts in my Pro Book Club Basics series here.