How to 'lead' (facilitate) a book discussion

How to 'Lead' (facilitate) a Book Discussion




1.) Let others answer first - When you are asking questions, you want to facilitate discussion, not come off as a teacher. By letting others in the book club answer first, you will promote conversation and help everyone feel like their opinions matter.

Note: Sometimes people may need to think before they answer. Part of being a good leader is being comfortable with silence. Don't feel like you have to jump in if no one answers immediately. If needed, clarify, expand or rephrase the question.


2.) Make connections between comments - If someone gives an answer to question 2 that connects well with question 5, don't feel obligated to ask questions 3 and 4 before moving to 5. You are the leader and you can go in whatever order you want. Even if you go in order, try to find a link between an answer and the next question. By connecting people's comments to the questions, you'll help build momentum in the conversation.


3.) Occasionally direct questions toward quiet people - You don't want to put anyone on the spot, but you want everyone to know their opinions are valued. If you have a few talkative people who always jump right in, directing a question to a specific person may help draw out the quieter people (and let the loud people know it is time to give someone else a turn).


4.) Rein in tangents - Book clubs are popular not only because people like to read, but also because they are great social outlets. A little off topic conversation is fine, but you also want to respect the fact that people have read the book and expect to talk about it. As the facilitator, it is your job to recognize tangents and bring the discussion back to the book.


5.) Don't feel obligated to get through all the questions - The best questions sometimes lead to intense conversations. That's a good thing! The questions are there as a guide. While you will want to get through at least three or four questions, it will probably be rare that you finish all ten. Respect people's time by wrapping up the discussion when the meeting time is over rather than pushing on until you finish everything you planned.


6.) Wrap up the discussion - One good way to wrap up a conversation and help people summarize their opinions of the book is to ask each person to rate the book on a scale of one to five.

Note: Do not make dismissive statements toward other people's comments. Even if you disagree, take the conversation back to the book rather than saying "That's ridiculous," etc. Making people feel embarrassed or defensive is a sure way to shut down the conversation.

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
How to 'lead' (facilitate) a book discussion September 30, 2011 10:25 AM Mary
Generic Discussion Questions October 3, 2011 9:04 PM Mary
Financial Information (dues, donations, etc...) September 28, 2011 8:34 AM Mary
Resources for Readers October 7, 2011 12:42 PM Mary
Rules, Regulations, and Suggestions October 11, 2011 2:35 PM Mary
Rules, Regulations, and Suggestions (continued...) October 11, 2011 2:36 PM Mary
Book Club Etiquette October 11, 2011 2:36 PM Mary
About ABC (Appetizers, Books, and Cocktails) Club September 10, 2012 1:00 PM Mary

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