This New Book Can Transform Your Book Club
The power of a group is undeniable. Group discussions bring the synergy of connection, insight, and joy to the forefront.
A popular area of focus for group discussions is books – fiction and nonfiction. University classes incorporating book discussions are commonplace. And, more personal book clubs among friends, neighbors, or co-workers are on the rise. In the United States alone, it is estimated that 5 million people are members of a book club. If you are part of a book club, or wish to start one, our latest book, The Power of Character Strengths and these 5 tips can take the group discussions to a whole new level creating a positive and memorable experience for everyone.
5 Tips to Jump-Start Your Group Discussion using The Power of Character Strengths
1.) Plan for how you will introduce the book to the other members?
In many of the above scenarios the members get to select the book that will be focused on for a particular discussion. This might mean you need to “convince” the other members why your idea is a good one. Here’s an example:
“For this month, I suggest we focus on The Power of Character Strengths. The authors focus on 24 character strengths that make up who we are. These strengths have been found in hundreds of research studies to bring benefit to us such as stress management, happiness, meaning in life, and a fresh way to help strengthen our relationships. The focus throughout the book is very practical: how we can use these strengths, already within us, to engage more at work and improve our relationships and community.”
It may be useful to share your favorite excerpt from the book in your suggestion to the group. You may choose to also introduce your favorite activities, quotes, ideas, strength examples, or guiding questions.
2.) Ask powerful questions
Sometimes groups need a prompt or a boost with some strong questions. Here are a few examples from the 120+ exploration questions offered in The Power of Character Strengths:
- What holds you back from trying to be creative?
- Were you a curious child? How has your curiosity been affected growing up?
- What motivates you to act bravely?
- In what situations do you struggle to express kindness?
- How does teamwork extend into your personal life; for example, parenting, family, partner, friendship?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of forgiving someone?
- If someone does not express gratitude to you, does it make it less likely you will express gratitude toward them in the future?
- What role does hope play during challenging times in your life?
3.) Do a strengths practice and share it
This is a BIG point. The book offers hundreds of ways to apply character strengths. The main purpose of the book is to help you use your character strengths more in your life. Check out what resonates most with you and jump in. Take notice of the impact on your relationships, work, health, and daily well-being. Sharing this with the group will catalyze members to share and also to go home and delve into a practice themselves.
4) Suggest a rotation where each person has an opportunity to share
While no one should be forced to share, it’s important for each person to feel they have an opportunity to share their insights, opinions, and ways they have come to use their character strengths in their life. Group discussions can take an approach where, first, each person has a chance to share prior to others sharing a second time. This is the approach of “limiting cross-talk” in which two people go back and forth on a topic for 30 minutes. The rotation approach may require some members to use self-regulation but it will also catalyze curiosity in them as they listen to quieter and particularly reflective members.
5) Consider summarizing what happens in the group
It’s common for many discussions to simply end flat. One person says, “thanks for dinner, I need to get home” and this leads to a stampede. Or, the class concludes abruptly with a bell or the work-lunch hour comes to an end. This is where having a succinct summary can help gel insights and reinforce the good that took place in the discussion. You can take the lead on this. Consider these questions to help you compile a short summary:
- What are the main insights from the discussion?
- How is this helpful for our personal growth?
- What are the main takeaways to implement in our organization?
- How is this relevant to the topic of our course/class?
Start a book discussion group today. Or, make your current discussion group even stronger. Be sure to consider new strengths book for your next discussion! The Power of Character Strengths: Appreciate and Ignite Your Positive Personality.