6 Tips to get more out of your business book club

Our guest blogger this month is Danielle Adams, a freelance writer who works with various sites including Bubble. When she’s not writing, Danielle enjoys learning more about various organizational apps, hanging out with friends, and visiting her local coffee shop.

All book clubs start out with the best intentions, but too often they fall apart (or fail to take off in the beginning). If you want a book club at your business that lasts, and results in insightful and fulfilling conversations, follow these six tips.

Pick a discussion leader

A discussion leader, moderator, literary ringleader, or whatever your group chooses to call the role, is essential for a top-notch book club. They help guide the conversation, keep it on topic, and ensure everyone gets an opportunity to talk about their thoughts. This helps shy members of the group get a chance to say what’s on their mind, and it can keep the more loquacious members from (even unintentionally) dominating the conversation.

Rotate hosting and discussion leader responsibilities

Repeatedly hosting or moderating can be exhausting. It requires extra preparation and can include tasks like setting up the room and sending out reminder emails. Find a rotation style that works for your group, and share the responsibility. This will lead to unique conversations each time and refreshed group members.

Bring themed treats

Ask everyone to bring a themed treat (savory or sweet) based off that month’s book. This accomplishes three different goals.

  1. It takes a lot of pressure off the person who is hosting each month if everybody brings something to share
  2. It’s a fun way to break the ice and naturally start book-related conversations.
  3. Fed people are happy people. Delicious treats can help start the club meeting on a positive note, even if the book material is serious.

Take notes while reading

You never remember your thoughts and reactions as well as you think you do. Keep a journal nearby as you read your book club selection. If you have a strong reaction to something, jot down your thoughts. If you notice a theme or a motif you’d like to explore with other group members, write it down. If a particular insight jumped out at you that you think is most applicable to your business, make a note of it so you can remember to share.

You’ll be surprised how much more you’ll have to contribute once you start taking notes as you read the book.

Prepare questions and topics beforehand

Before you go to the meeting, take the time to prepare some questions or topics you’d like to discuss. If you’ve taken notes along the way, this should be pretty simple. Use a page to write down any questions you had as you read the book, or any questions you’d like to pose to the group. Examples include:

  • What was the motivation behind writing the book?
  • Is there an overarching theme?
  • What surprised you most about the book?
  • Is there anything you learned that you can apply to your day to day job?

If you don’t have any questions, just jot down a few topics you think could produce interesting discussions and points from the book that fit in those topics.

Keep the conversation going with a group messaging app

Who says a book discussion needs to be limited to one meeting? A group messaging app can keep the conversation going for weeks. Even if your group is full of busy people who can only get together once a month, you can discuss new thoughts long after you leave the meeting. You can even discuss when you’re next meeting on the app.

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