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Launching A Book Club at the Workplace

 Launching A Book Club at the Workplace

(June 1, 2013)  

Launching a book club at the workplace can offer many benefits - outside of those generally garnered from reading. Through the discussion sessions, you will find that staff can learn leadership skills and art of negotiation. For staff from different departments, it can be a great way for you to get to know each other better outside a work scenario, whilst for those already in a team, it will help greatly to build and cement bonds. Book clubs also allow those of you at more senior levels to interact with those in more junior positions in a relaxed, non-pressurized setting. It is a great social forum and will provide an enjoyable and meaningful addition to your social calendar.

Through the actual discussions themselves, staff will not only expand their general knowledge but also their management skills, lateral thinking and, in many cases, even personal growth.

6 Easy Tips on Starting and Running a Book Club:

1.    Decide on the format.
Will employees read a chapter each week? Will meetings be held weekly or monthly? Who will lead the discussions? I have found that a rotating roster would be better for fostering leadership and communication skills

 

2.    Decide of the kinds of books
There is a lot to choose from – fiction, non-fiction, thrillers, mysteries, bios, or all? Some companies use the opportunity to further the professional development by targeting particular business books. Regardless of the type of book, be sensitive to the cultural or religious backgrounds of the members and try and to cover broad subjects

 

3.    Delegate one member to do all the communicating
Sending reminder emails for the meetings including information on whose turn it is next to lead the discussion. Have a room and time set aside; take white board and markers to capture some key points. And when you’ve finished covering a book, send an email inviting other to join in the next round.

 

4.    Don’t try to cover every aspect of the book – in general, half a dozen discussion topics are ideal number for most meetings. However, if people are enthusiastic about a point, don’t feel the need to rush on to the next topic.

 

5.    Decide on how and when books will be selected. Will the members nominate books? Will a committee pick from bestsellers a put them to a vote? How long before the discussions will the books be posted to members? Where will you source the books? (insert Kingston Bookshop here).

One thing that is often forgotten when setting up a book club, is the need to have ground rules.

6.    Set the ground rules from the very beginning. These should include limiting comments if necessary, highlighting the need to avoid inflammatory or non-constructive statements, being aware of body language and non-verbal responses as those can be just as disrespectful as words, the importance of everyone’s participation, and that respectfully challenging opinions are OK, but refrain from personal; attacks – focus on the ideas.

Launching a book club at the workplace is an important initiative that can have significantly positive impact throughout the organization. We wish for you animated and lively discussions!

 

Click to see our pick of some of the books that could be used in your book club

 

References:

The Reading Club, “Lifelong Benefits of Joining a Book Club”, Updated 31 July 2010
Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt
http://www.thereadingclub.co.uk/lifelong-benefits-of-joining-a-book-club.html

The Reading Club, “Book Clubs at Work”, Updated 3 October 2010
Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt

http://www.thereadingclub.co.uk/book-clubs-at-work.html 

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