How And Why To Start A Business Book Club

How And Why To Start A Business Book Club

How and Why to​ Start a​ Business Book Club
Book clubs have been quite a​ rage over the​ last few years .​
Fueled in​ part by Oprah and others,​ the​ concept of​ reading a​ book then gathering with others who have read the​ same book has become cool again.
The reasons people have found them valuable include:
- a great way to​ have meaningful conversation.
- a way to​ support your own reading habit (I need to​ have the​ book read before the​ meeting!).
- a way to​ form a​ community – to​ have a​ great reason to​ gather with other people to​ bond.
- A way to​ learn something in​ a​ fun way.
It is​ for all of​ those same reasons and more that I​ suggest and encourage business book clubs .​
Maybe you would like to​ start one within your organization or​ maybe you would prefer to​ build one among colleagues from outside of​ work .​
Either way this article will outline the​ keys to​ help you build a​ successful single event or​ long-term club .​

1. Market the​ idea. Once you are excited about this concept,​ use your influence and knowledge of​ your target group to​ market the​ concept to​ them .​
Even if​ your goal is​ to​ build a​ long-term club .​
Don’t market it​ that way – that requires too big of​ a​ commitment for many people .​
You are trying to​ encourage people to​ try something new that will requires their time both to​ read and participate .​
Rather than inviting them to​ make a​ long-term commitment,​ encourage them to​ read one book,​ then once they see the​ fun and the​ value,​ you will have them hooked.
2. Gain commitment. Once you have sold people on​ the​ idea make sure you gain a​ commitment to​ participate .​
People are really committing to​ two things: reading the​ book,​ and coming to​ the​ meeting .​
After all,​ if​ no one comes to​ the​ meeting,​ (or comes without having read much of​ the​ book) you won’t have much of​ a​ conversation!
3. Start small. Identify the​ number of​ people you will feel good about having involved .​
Experience shows that if​ you have 4-5 highly committed people you will have a​ successful experience .​
More is​ fine too,​ but you don’t have to​ have everyone in​ the​ organization or​ every person at​ a​ certain level participating for it​ to​ be successful.
4. Start easy. Not everyone is​ an​ avid reader .​
So pick a​ book that will be an​ easy sell in​ terms of​ topic and length .​
Picking the​ new 450-page book you are interested in​ might not be the​ best place to​ start .​
Remember that the​ value of​ the​ book club experience is​ more than just the​ book you read,​ but the​ conversations and ideas they stimulate .​

5. Make it​ fun. This is​ a​ part of​ your marketing effort .​
Have food .​
Decorate the​ room,​ reminder invitations,​ etc .​
in​ a​ theme suggested by the​ book .​
Make the​ event itself something that will both encourage people to​ attend and create a​ buzz so other people want to​ attend the​ next one.
6. Have a​ facilitator. Someone needs to​ be responsible for facilitating the​ conversation .​
Beyond the​ normal facilitator roles of​ keeping others participating that person needs to​ have a​ few questions prepared that are designed to​ stimulate conversation.
7. Facilitate lightly. the​ facilitator should facilitate but not lead .​
Remember that you are after input,​ participation and having people involved in​ the​ conversation .​
Don’t let it​ become a​ lecture.
8. Keep the​ group involved. Beyond the​ group’s involvement in​ the​ conversation itself,​ get everyone’s input into future meeting times,​ setups,​ facilitators,​ and perhaps most of​ all,​ books .​
When people feel involved,​ they will be more invested in​ the​ success of​ the​ next event,​ and beyond.
I have helped organizations think through how to​ start these groups and have facilitated these discussions .​
While we​ have talked about the​ benefits that can be gained by individuals who participate in​ these groups,​ the​ organizational benefits can be huge as​ well .​
For the​ investment in​ a​ book for each person,​ organizations can create powerful conversation,​ deep professional development and better relationships.

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