Are you the facilitator who’s going to lead your pro book club discussion? Here are some tips for how to prepare.
1. Read the book. This may seem obvious, but what I really mean is read it with an eye for things you’d like to discuss. Take notes or highlight interesting passages. This will be tremendously helpful when it comes time to prep some discussion questions. Speaking of which…
2. Prepare a handout for your meeting. I like to keep my handouts to a single page and include the following info:
- Book title and author
- Discussion questions — My biggest fear when I started leading pro book club discussions was silence. Crickets. Running out of questions to ask, or asking a question and no one having anything to say. The best way to avoid this situation is (1) make notes for yourself so you don’t forget interesting points you’d like to discuss, and (2) write 3-5 discussion questions just in case. Oftentimes, discussions will take on a life of their own as the participants share their thoughts about the book. But if there is a lull in the discussion, it’s helpful to have a few questions prepared to kickstart the conversation again.
- Supplemental info — I often include links to articles, podcasts, or videos related to the book that discussion participants can reference later, if they’re interested.
- Options for the next book club selection — Get everyone started thinking about what book you’d like to read next by including a list of 2-3 options. Include the book title, author, and a link to the book online so participants can look them up at their own convenience and choose.
Click here to download a sample meeting handout.
3. Decide on the meeting agenda. Nothing fancy, just figure out how you want the meeting to proceed. Maybe start by going around the room and having everyone introduce themselves, and then launch into the conversation with your first discussion question. You can also check out my Example Meeting Walk-Through for an example of how a typical meeting of my pro book club is structured.
4. Make sure all of the logistics of the meeting are set. Check with your group leader to make sure your meeting location and time are secured, food is taken care of, and copies of your handout are made. And if you plan to kick off your meeting with a short video or podcast, make sure you have the right technology in place to play it.
Be sure to check out the other posts in my Pro Book Club Basics series here.