Saturday, February 22, 2014


It's A Mystery To Me: Vanishing Thoughts -- A Reoccurring Book Club Meeting Dilemma

Dear Mysterious --

At our wonderful monthly book club meetings, the club's rule during discussions is to raise our hands when we want to speak and the facilitator calls on us in turn.  This works fine and we're happy to do so out of respect.  Yet, when several members want to speak at once, we each have to wait occasionally while others speak before our individual turn.  In this situation, by the time it is my turn to speak, I have forgotten what I was going to say.  It's embarrassing to then be called on and have nothing to say because I've gotten so engrossed in what others have to say the thoughts have left me and the context and relevance of my thoughts has shifted to other subjects. Any suggestions? It's a mystery to me...

Sign me...


Dearest Ponderous --

Book club discussions are yet another opportunity to learn, just as when you read the book selections.  Perhaps keeping a notepad and pen handy during the discussions and jotting down notes, as you would when reading the books, would be a useful tool.  When several people raise their hands at once -- including you -- and someone else is called first, quickly write down a key word or sentence that will jog your memory when it is your turn to speak. When you do speak, make reference to what you are commenting about so others can then follow your train of thought.

Secondly, note commentary on what other people are speaking about throughout the discussion and perhaps keep most of your commentary on several subjects to one turn.  Also, by listening, often times, someone else will share similar ideas, addressing what you were going to say.

Perhaps you could think about what you want to say about the book before the book club meeting, crystallizing your ideas.  When the discussion begins, raise your hand, and outline the different aspects you'd like to talk about.  Then, open the discussion to the group.

Lastly, book club discussions should be invigorating and inspiring.  If you feel embarrassed, frustrated, over-looked, hurried or put down -- then speak privately to the person acting as facilitator at first opportunity about your feelings.  If nothing changes after a couple of meetings, bring the subject up during the meeting discussions, as you are probably not the only one feeling this way, and a solution needs to be found. Feeling as though not being heard damages the purpose of the group, acting as a destructive cancer that could lead to the group's eventual disbanding.  Group leaders and facilitators can only help you if you speak up.

Thank you for sharing your experience. Another mystery solved!

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