Book Clubs: How to Lead Book Discussions

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okay today we're gonna talk about group

discussion and our topic is leader tips

now there's a lot of things that a

leader needs to do we can't go over all

of them in this short little segment

rules is talked about in another will be

talked about in another one and

preparing to lead a discussion group

that's we're not going to talk about

that today we're going to talk about

what the leader can do when they're

actually in the discussion environment

now preparing for the discussion we the

leader needs at all times to be an

example go through our reading skills

and use them encourage the people in

your group to use them your discussion

will be a direct reflection of your

preparation beforehand and the quality

of the books that you choose so if the

leader creates the group in a way that

they should and if they are an example

of of the reading skills of reading

properly and an example of discussing

properly then that will set the tone for

everybody else the first time I ever

really put together a formal book group

and let it the very first meeting we

ever had I I got everyone together and I

told them about the books that I was

reading and what a blast I was having

and that I had learned some reading

skills and I was shocked at the response

everybody was so excited about this just

the fact that I was reading and I was

having a great experience that I was

learning all kinds of cool stuff made

them want to and they actually you know

some of them got out a piece of paper

will tell me some of the reading skills

that you've learned that I can use and

that book group grew and grew and grew

and was a great experience so um you

want to be an example of everything you

teach you want to be an example of being

picky about the books that you choose

which we talked about in choosing a book

and be an example of the reading skills

of preparing well before you get to the

group there's a few other things you can

do during discussion that will be

beneficial now we're assuming today that

we're in the discussion itself and

you've already prepared by creating

being clear about purposes and criteria

for the books that you're choosing and

using other discussion the the some of

the purposes of discussion and that the

reasons for discussion that kind of

thing as you get into the book group

these are some practical tips for it

when you're in the book group itself

what you can do these apply in a family

setting they apply with you they apply

with adults the discussion will go

better if again you're an example you're

on fire you're excited you're ready to

go the second thing that you want to do

when you begin the discussion is you

have a five-minute intro now of course

five minutes is a loose number it could

be two or three it doesn't you don't

want it to be more than eight or ten and

what this is is this can be almost

anything but it must be okay must be

inspirational if you don't want to start

the group with a downer okay it's got to

be something exciting positive opps been

optimistic inspirational it could be

something you learned in your research

about the book or the author it could be

some of the reading skills you're

practicing and what a great experience

you're having it could be something that

you learn in the book that you've

already applied and had a great

experience that way it could be it could

be something you've learned recently

that kind of applies to what you're

going to discuss that night there's

there's there's a lot of a lot of

options here but what you

ask yourself is how can I get us started

right okay how can I open the discussion

in a way that everybody's going to be

excited and on fire

and so that's what you want to do you

want to get the discussion off to a good

start what this does is kind of it gets

sets the mood right like maybe we've

been eating maybe we've been socializing

maybe we've been catching up with

friends but now it's time to discuss so

we're kind of in our circle or around

the table or whatever we are or we're

sitting on couches at home with our kids

and it's time to kind of start thinking

this gets mental juices flowing right

like it gets everybody on the same page

thinking about some things you might

want to you might want to tie this intro

into a theme like you might have already

chosen a theme for that evening or there

might be a specific theme you want to

bring out to begin the discussion and so

the inspirational thought has something

to do with love or courage or parenting

or endurance or whatever it is so that's

what that first five minutes

introduction needs to be and it gets

everybody thinking then you're gonna

start the discussion with a great

question asked a great question okay now

we teach the five types of questions in

the reading skills maybe it's as a

reading skill and so knowing those five

types of questions will allow you to

write better questions and then you can

go through your questions and decide

which is a really great one to start off

but that's why I said maybe you want to

focus on a theme because then you can

get the discussion going at a good rate

based on one of your really great

questions so go through those five types

of questions regularly make sure you

note them in your book we talked about

we'll talk about that with the writing


I mean book marking tips but you want to

start the discussion off with a great

question and then guess what you want to

do after you ask this incredible light

ahead it doesn't have to be the best

question there otherwise it just needs

to be a question that is what open and

okay no leading group leaders don't lead

your groups ask open-ended questions

I'm telling you refer often to the five

types of questions it will keep you it

will keep you from asking there are only

probably it's only knowledge questions

that can even be closed-ended and you

can still ask knowledge questions in a

way that are open-ended do not lead in

your question that you ask and questions

that you ask later on of course you'll

be an example of writing the five types

of questions you'll encourage the people

in your group or teach to your family or

a youth group of over it is you'll teach

them the five types of questions have

them come to the blog and learn them

here and you'll encourage them to write

questions because of course discussion

goes well when everybody is comes

prepared with questions that's part of

preparing to discuss so um you'll ask an

open-ended question that you do not have

a right answer to in the back of your

mind and then you're going to wait

please wait if you are not willing to

wait right there wait if you're not

willing to wait everybody's gonna know

in the future that they don't have to

think because you're gonna start the

discussion with a question and then here

gonna answer your own question you

cannot use a discussion forum to put

yourself on a soapbox it doesn't matter

who the audience is it doesn't matter if

it's one child if it's your spouse if

it's your boss or your coworker it does

not matter who it is if you ask a

leading closed-ended question and you're

looking for the right answer that is

permission for everybody to stop

thinking okay so if you want a great

discussion you had better be willing to

wait and let everybody know that you're

willing to wait

you wait maybe you need to ask the

question a second time maybe you need to

ask it in a new way but you will ask a

question that's quality because you've

taken the time to think about it it may

be it ties into things that you've

discussed in the past again it could tie

into this five minute intro but you let

everybody you've had time to think about

it the group has not okay so you're

gonna let them just kind of think over

that question and then somebody's gonna

give an answer now this is a very

important discussion leading tip when

people answer the first time that's

their off-the-cuff initial answer okay

if you really want thinking to happen

then you ask the next question which is

almost always why so you're gonna ask

the next question so okay let's think of

one maybe I open maybe I'm doing Pride

and Prejudice for example and maybe

we've kind of been talking maybe it's a

group of moms we've kind of been talking

about parenting on and off in marriage

and those kinds of things and maybe I

found this incredible quote from another

Jane Austen book or something wonderful

about her as a mother or I guess she

wasn't she died when she was pregnant

but anyway maybe you say something

wonderful from another author or


that introduces this idea of this theme

and then you ask a question like what

are some things that mr. Bennett did

that were detrimental to his family okay

so everyone's gonna think for a minute

they would say well he ignored his kids

he didn't really train and teach them

you know right he talked really

negatively about his wife right so you

get all those things out that would be

kind of a principle based question which

is one of the five you're kind of

searching for the principles in this

instance that he's breaking

causing damage in his home so then

everybody has answered this question you

follow you then you ask the next

question and when you ask the next


this is when thinking really begins why

were those things detrimental to his

family and you wait again and you do not

answer your own questions and you do not

lead and you do not answer every other

question that gets asked now from that

point on you can proceed in a lot of

different ways you can't have taught

everybody the five types of questions

and tell them to come prepared to ask

one and then you could go in a circle

what question did you bring marry what

question did you bring Shauna you know I

don't know mm-hmm

go a circle and let everybody ask a

question I've done that a lot it works

really really well um you could you

could ask who has a question to ask

I let them ask a question you could go

by theme you could say now our theme for

this month is this let's talk about all

of this you know let's talk about

courage in the book let's talk about

love in the book and then just let

everybody go and discuss but having

everybody prepared with questions is by

far hands down the easiest way to run a

great discussion and if it creates the

best discussion when you've chosen the

right kind of reading throughout the

discussion you'll continue to you'll

continue to enforce the rules okay

you know in a loving way right someone's

got to be there owning the discussion

making sure that the rules and the

boundaries that have been set are

honored okay that's in another

discussion tip video is is discussion

group rules and so go over those make

sure you're clear on those make sure you

go over them with your group on a

regular basis so that someone is there

saying you know time or just a handful

of things that you that you do to make

the disc

stay quality and then the last thing

you're going to do is a five-minute

ending okay so you've got you've got

your in so you've got your your an

example right you got your intro then

you've got your great question and then

your next follow-up question and then

your ending that's the basic structure

like that's the skeleton of leading a

good discussion is that you're following

along you're you know whatever the

criteria is for how your rules are going

to work and there's different ways that

you can engage everyone a discussion but

if you're using reading skills and

you're encouraging maybe you maybe your

group learns a reading skill every month

and practices it and you talk about it

you talk about the reading skill and how

it went there's all kinds of ways to

engage everyone in discussion themes is

huge all that kind of stuff that's

that's again for another another tip but

this is the skeleton of a great

discussion this ending same criteria

inspirational let every have a time

honor the time and the time and let

everybody leave with something really

great really positive and and and happy

or uplifting or something to really

ponder or a question that was hanging in

the air and no one can answer and

everybody's gonna go home and think

about that some more remember we succeed

in our discussions when we inspire

people to continue to be self improving

and self educating so that's your that's

your skeleton for a discussion implement

them and I promise you'll have you'll

see improved experiences in your

discussion groups see you next time