How to Manage a Book ClubManaging a book club
Managing challenging book discussion group get-togethers
We' ve responded to these issues by drawing on the common knowledge of many book club members. You will find the answer in the Book Club Advisory section of our blog: It' s hard to think of a good debate without differences of opinions - but there are ways to constructively voice a different view that creates confidence and frankness within the group - and then there are ways to squelch someone so that they never again become happy in front of the world.
When you think someone in your group is too shrill, when they disagree with another member, you should take the individual aside and point out what they're doing - they probably aren't conscious of the effects they have (and it's probably not just at your book group gatherings that they're doing it!).
Before you do this, however, make sure that this individual is regarded as inappropriate by the other members of the group. If, for example, a respondent is cut off by another respondent, if that respondent has ceased to address you, immediately redirect the interview back to what the first respondent said and ask them to discuss the topic more, or refer to what they said the next time you spoke and to their thoughts.
Where there is a situation where one or more persons are talking too long and too much and it was a concern in earlier sessions, try to address this concern at the beginning of the session and ask the group for proposals. In a situation where humans are constantly interrupting each other (and group members think this is a problem), you should use a time delay and not allow any interruption until the announcer has spoken (for a max of 2-3 minutes), or avoid a small item, such as a football, and only the player who holds the football can do so.
The amount of talk is often in reverse relation to the level of thought behind it, so if someone is fully involved in the debate but only takes the floor from time to time, there is really no need to do anything about it. But if someone in your book club really says very little (and especially if it's a small group), try to find ways to get it out.
As an example, make a statement yourself and ask the individual directly if he or she agrees or not - but walk softly - maybe the individual has difficulty speaking a few words to all the other bossy folks in the room and will welcome your questions, but they might also be completely at ease when they hear other people's opinion and feels intimidated by a straight-ask.
Maybe they are new to the group or have the feeling that everyone else knows each other, but they do not. Maybe they don't think they're as well legible as the others of you. It doesn't make any difference whether this is real or perceived - they have to find a way to make them happy in the group, and if they are, they will rather bring in their thoughts.
It is a good idea to get to know the individual better during the conversation period before the start of the official debate and perhaps even to find out their opinions about the book, one to one. If he/she is not talking in the conversation, you can make a remark under the motto "Alice made a really good point when we discussed the book before the encounter about xxxx" and ask if she/he can divide it with the group.
Try seated next to or near your reserved girlfriend, because when the room's eye turns to listen to her talk, she will find herself more assisted when she has someone around her who already appreciates her opinion. If someone is new to the group, it is usually a good practice to start the session by spending a few moments getting to know them and giving them the opportunity to get to know you, either through an informational conversation or a group match.
When your group brings the meal, it is very simple for each individual to become a little better than the previous one and, before you know it, to take the treat from a fast rustling through the closet before you go to the meet, to something that needs to be scheduled and arranged long in advance. What are you going to do?
As an alternative, if the group members want to play their gourmet muscle, you might suggest that the meal for the meeting be kept straightforward, but that from time to time you have a "theme night" that' is built around the book you are debating, and that everyone bring a meal that matches the time the book is playing or its whereabouts.
Or you could go into the city and turn it into a costumed event where members dress up as one of the figures or at least thematically with the book. Next months you can go back to cheeses, cracker and the'real' book-talk! There'?s no agreement on what kind of book to study.
When you have studied this section of the reader's booklet from beginning to end, you have probably already listened to me say once, if not twice, that when you form a new group with others, you don't know that you should be meeting in a place open to the general audience until you get to know each other reasonably well and only then get together in people's homes.
Some years ago I added this comments after I received an e-mail from a book club member who, along with the other club members, was active harassing an abuse member of the group they wanted to become an ex-member. The things had come to the point where they had chosen not to meet with the person, but she went on to phone and go to her houses to find out more about the next one.
You may not be likely to find yourself in such an extremely difficult position, but a little bit of care can go a long way, so don't give out your postal or telephone number until you are convinced of the group - you don't even need to provide your normal e-mail because you can always get a free Hotmail, Yahoo, etc. bankroll.
A four-page abstract of one of the textbooks we saw and we were told by one of our members at our meet. But since then she has brought us a recap of every book we have and has insisted on it. When you meet a someone who is insisting on being the focus of every session (and you really don't think you can just ask them not to), you need to find a way to'divert' them.
In this case, for example, it would be a good idea to thank her for her contribution, but it would be even more useful if she could summarise the book and the discussions after the encounter (essentially by making her the session clerk in charge of keeping a record of the most important points of the conversation).
The most important thing is to urge her to e-mail the resume to the members before the next session, so there is no need to talk about it at the next session - but be sure to thank her! Send us an e-mail and we will do my best to respond!