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Icebreakers for Your Next (or First!) Meeting

By Mary Morgan

Maybe your book group is meeting for the first time, or maybe you’ve had new members join (and others leave), or maybe you just want to inject some fun into your next discussion. Whatever the situation, an icebreaker activity can help!

Icebreakers can put members at ease with one another, making them feel more comfortable expressing their opinions and more likely to respect the comments of others. Plus, a bit of fun and laughter reduces awkwardness and the silences that can sometimes occur, especially at the beginning of a meeting or with new members.

Here’s one idea to get your next (or first!) discussion off to a great start: The Book Group Quiz. It’s easy to put together and will help everyone learn about who’s around the table.

Book Group Quiz

Hand out a sheet with questions like the sample ones below, and allow 10 minutes for members to answer on their own. Then take turns reading the questions aloud and have fun sharing the answers.

Find a member who:
• Has read one of SJP’s picks: Stay With Me, Exit West, No One is Coming to Save Us, or Anatomy of a Miracle
• Has read two of SJP’s picks
• Has been in a book group before
• Can explain the Dewey Decimal System
• Has not read Charlotte’s Web
• Has written a poem or a short story
• Grew up using a bookmobile as their library
• Knows the name of the protagonist in Pride and Prejudice
• Keeps a “to-read” list
• Has been to a book reading in the last six months
. . . and on and on!

Be creative! You can generate questions specific to your group. You can also write the questions on scraps of paper, put them in a basket, and pass it around the table, with each member drawing one. If you have the physical space, ask members to mingle and “interview” each other and check off each question with someone’s name.

Happy quizzing! And hopefully this leads to happy reading and discussing too!

Mary Morgan is the executive director of Reading Group Choices, which provides resources and recommendations for reading groups worldwide through its website, online database, eNewsletters, and annual print reference guide.


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