Choose a discussion leader

While a leader is not necessary, many groups find that having one providesfocus to the discussion and helps to make transitions from one member’s comment to another’s. Often the person who suggested the book becomesthe discussion leader, but your group can also rotate leaders, appoint apermanent group leader, or invite guest speakers—local teachers, librar-ians, booksellers, etc.—to lead discussions. There are even professionalbook group leaders for hire. Margot B. of Greenwich, Connecticut offersanother perspective too, sharing a tip from her book club: “We have foundthat not having a leader not only keeps everyone in the group invested andinvolved, but also keeps everyone on equal footing and equally responsiblefor keeping things lively and moving.”

Set a meeting time

Most groups meet every 4 to 6 weeks, and discussion tends to last 2 to 3hours. You may find it helpful to designate a certain amount of time forsocializing—either at the beginning or the end of the meeting—so that your discussion of the book can proceed uninterrupted. Of course, finding a day and time that works for everyone may be difficult—consider setting regular meeting days and times to allow members to plan ahead. But, dobe flexible and don’t try to accommodate everyone’s schedule every time.Some groups are content as long as the majority of the members attend.Other groups have a meeting regardless of how many members can makeit. Keep in mind that you can make your own rules and even discuss a bookfrom a previous meeting.

Pick a place

A popular meeting place for many reading groups is a member’s house.Often members take turns hosting the meeting to alleviate the pressure onone person. But there are plenty of other options as well. Your local book-store or library may have a space that you can reserve free of charge for your meeting, as may your places of worship, community centers, or workplaces. If you are meeting with people you do not know, it may be best tochoose one of these informal, public spaces—or a coffee shop, restaurantor bar—for your meetings until you feel more comfortable.

Come prepared

Ask each member to bring at least one question to the meeting to helpgenerate discussion. Suggest that members mark up their books as theyread—making notes of favorite passages, key scenes, and questions thatarise. Background information can be equally helpful to have at handduring your discussion—author biographies, interviews, reviews, histori-cal background, cultural information, etc. It is usually the group leader’sresponsibility to provide these materials, as well as a list of potential dis-cussion questions. Or delegate so that everyone is involved and sharesthe fun and responsibility of discovering information. Reading groupguides, like those found at the end of the Reading Group Insider andat, often include everything you need to getstarted. Your local library and the internet are also good resources for thiskind of information.

Set the tone

The atmosphere of your group meeting is entirely up to you. The morecreative you are, the livelier the discussion will be, and the more enjoyment you’ll get out of the experience. Does your group prefer to meet for a socialhour before discussion starts? Would you like to meet more casually overdinner? Can you bring some of the cultural aspects of the book to yourmeeting? Consider the music, food, and customs described in the book andtry to re-create some of that for your group. If you are reading a historicalnovel set in England, try meeting for high tea. If your book is full of refer-ences to a certain artist or composer, bring a sample of that person’s workand share it with your group. Experiment with new kinds of foods, samplea new restaurant, or take a field trip to a place that has some relation to

the book you just read. Better yet, ask your local bookstore for a scheduleof authors who will be in town in the coming months and plan to read oneof their new books before their arrival. Then attend the event with yourgroup. Most importantly, relax and enjoy the discussion

Small Group Communication


Leader– somebody who guides or directs others.

A discussion leader is a symbol of equality and diplomacy who assist the discussion group to work toward a solution of their problems without directing or controlling their thinking.

He must make advance preparation by studying the topic open-mindedly.

Abilities of a Leader

ü  Express himself clearly and concisely

ü  Respond to various reaction from participants and handle sensitive situations with tact  and diplomacy

ü  Ease tension and enliven the discussion

ü  Plan the proceedings

ü  Perceive relationships in order to lead the discussion to a purposeful end

ü  Summarize the proceedings accurately


Participants-somebody who takes part in something.

The specific topic or issue  and the purpose of the small group discussion determine who should attend the meeting and  whether homogeneous or heterogeneous groupings is to be formed.

Consideration in choosing a participants

ü  Knowledge about the topic or subject matter for discussion.

ü  Commitment toward the achievement of the group objective.

ü  Manner of attendance: voluntary or required

ü  Involvement in the profession.

ü  Attitudes towards the issues or topics to be discussed.

ü  Interpersonal relationship among the participants

Chosen participants should:

  • Prepare for the meeting
  • Participate effectively
  • Observe time limits
  • Be courteous
  • Think , feel and talk in terms of group welfare


Interaction in small group discussion is a dynamic, spontaneous and a continuous process where each participant acts both as listener and speaker.

Obtaining Facts


  • something that can be shown to be true, to exist, or to have happened.
  • the truth or actual existence of something, as opposed to the supposition of something or a belief about something.

The Outline

  1. Introduce the topic for discussion
  2. Identify the elements of the topic required by the group
  3. Explore the specific area for discussion
  4. Conclude the discussion

Solving a problem and making decision

SOLVING A PROBLEM– to find a way of dealing successfully with a problem or difficulty

MAKING A DECISION– the process of making choices or reaching conclusions, especially on important political or business matters


  1. Define the problem
  2. Analyze the problem
  3. Find solution to the problem
  4. Evaluate the suggested solution
  5. Put the solution into action

Physical setting formats for small group communication

Types of small groups

Closed or Private- only the participating members are present.

Open or Public- seen and heard by a public audience who may or may not participate in the discussion

Seating arrangement of participants

  1. Face-off
  2. Leadman
  3. Altogether
  4. Face the audience


The face-off type of seating arrangement places the members face-to-face with each other


The leadman seating arrangement places an individual at the lead and at front of the table


Is good visual contact among the members and their position gives them feeling of equality among each other.

Face the audience

The discussion participants face and speak to audience more to each other