Follow the guidelines below to create interactive and productive Business Book Club or Leadership Learning Group discussions.
For each meeting, designate a facilitator to organize and guide the discussion. Some groups have one person take on this role for a season, while others rotate the role to a different member for each session.
Suggested Facilitator Process and Tips:
- Read the book, chapter, or article the group will be discussing.
- For some topics, the discussion will be more productive if participants have not only read the material in advance, but tried out some of the ideas. Determine the specific preparation needed.
- Send out an invitation to group members, including information on the meeting time and place, process, and expected preparation. Send your initial invitation out enough in advance to give members ample time to complete the reading and any suggested pre-work. Then remind them a week or so in advance, and again a day or two before the meeting.
- Develop a handful of questions to stimulate discussion. Open questions—ones that begin with What, Why or How—usually work best. See below for few questions that generally work well for business book discussions.
- Your role is to draw out a productive discussion. Resist the temptation to “tell”; instead, ask.
- Aim to involve all group members in the discussion. Make it comfortable for people to express contrasting views. Encourage quieter members without putting them on the spot. If one or two members are dominating the discussion, redirect it: Who else? Is there another way to look at this? Other thoughts?
- If there’s a lull in the conversation, consider stirring it with a provocative question, or, if appropriate, share your observation or the insight of a third party (for instance, another author’s supporting or contrasting view.)
- If your group is large, divide into sub-groups for the majority of your time, coming back together at the end.
- Wrap up in order to end at the designated time. Collect and summarize insight. Determine any relevant action steps.
- Provide a brief preview of your next meeting, along with the date, time, and location.
- If appropriate, send out a summary of key points and discussion insight after the meeting.
Business Book Clubs: General Questions
- What was your most important take-away?
- What, if anything, was surprising?
- How would this apply in your role and organization?
- What do you agree or disagree with?
- What ideas have you implemented or will you try?
Resources for Business Books Clubs and Leadership Learning Groups
Leaders Lab: 66 Ways to Develop Your Leadership Skill, Strategy, and Style can be easily used with a Business Book Club or Leadership Learning Group. To order the book, click here. Also download the complete free companion Leaders Lab Facilitator’s Guide, including sample book club programs.
©New Century Leadership LLC 2016