How To Chair A Meeting For Book Club

How To Chair A Meeting - The question is do you need a chair at all and if you do, who should you pick?



If you want to know how to chair a book club meeting then I suggest you look at my how to run a meeting and leading a book club discussion pages to get an idea of flow of your evening and tips to keep the conversation flowing.

One option you have is to appoint a chair to make sure that someone is actively making sure that the conversation flows. This can definitely be of benefit, but can also stifle the conversation by making it a bit contrived. You may prefer to try without anyone chairing first and see if you really need it.

Here are some pros and cons of having a chair:

Pros

  • The discussion has a structure to it
  • It is less likely you will go off on tangents
  • It's more likely that the chair will have researched the topic more thoroughly so can ask the group more poignant questions

Cons

  • It can make the meeting quite formal
  • You may lose the relaxed and fun atmosphere
  • It can feel more like teacher and pupil - you are back at school again
  • The lack of tangents may actually stifle the conversation
  • Being chair can be a bit stressful - more prep and "on show" during the meeting itself - will everyone in your group be comfortable with that?



How To Chair A Meeting - Picking The Right Chairperson

Most of the Cons listed above can be avoided by choosing the right chairperson so who should it be?

To keep it less formal, you should pick someone from your actual group. The person who chose the book is usually passionate about it and will be more willing to do some pre-research and think about some questions. (Don't forget that every book featured on this site has themes and questions to fuel your discussion) So, the book chooser would be a good choice for chairperson.


The host is another option, but that then gives that person a lot to do - making sure everyone has drinks, organising food etc - it suddenly becomes a night you dread rather than look forward to.

The other choice is to get someone external to be the chairperson. Usually this is an English teacher (perhaps retired) or a librarian. Some will give their time freely, others will require a small fee. This means your book club can relax, you are likely to be challenged more and have a better discussion as a result.

But, it does make the evening quite formal unless you can find the right sort of person. We've never felt the need to go to this level - For us, book club is about having a lovely night out with friends and using our brain a little - we have enough challenges of our own every day and want the evening to be informal and relaxed!


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