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F2F Book Discussions > F2F Moderating Tips and Tricks

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message 1: by Tina (new)

Tina (tinamats) | 2665 comments It occurred to me last Saturday that it was our 20th Face to Face book discussion. TWENTY. It feels like a milestone, doesn't it?

So we have come a long way from the first F2F discussion ever, and it makes me smile knowing how we have kept this up, despite all the challenges. My, look how we've grown!

So now that we've almost completed our 2nd year of having Face to Face discussions as a group, I thought of opening this thread so we can share tips on moderating. At work, we call this "sharing best practices". :D

So to all past discussion moderators, let's share our tips/practices/things we did to make moderating easier, for the benefit of our future mods. We can also share some challenges and how we overcame them, or if we haven't figured out how to fix that, then maybe we can all figure out a way to fix it together. :)

New discussion moderator? You can also ask questions here! :)

(This is also a thread to help lure moderators for our 2014 discussions. :D Hee.)


message 2: by Tina (last edited Sep 02, 2013 09:09PM) (new)

Tina (tinamats) | 2665 comments To the curious/newbies/people who weren't there from the start of the F2Fs, here's a link to the spreadsheet where you can see the past discussions: click!

(I don't have the attendance, though. Angus keeps track of that. :D)

(I'll update the sheet with the links to their respective F2F threads later on. :D)


message 3: by Monique (last edited Sep 02, 2013 09:08PM) (new)

Monique (attymonique) | 2126 comments The best tip I can ever give for future moderators: the easiest and least intimidating questions to ask during the discussion are (1) opinion questions, and (2) leading questions, as we call it in legalese.

Opinion questions are self-explanatory - you ask stuff that requires the person to answer based on his or her own personal views. But you need to relate the question to the book, of course.

Leading questions are those that already contain or supply the answers, and the participant is merely asked to affirm or deny. For example:

The book [insert title here] is replete with themes. Do you think that religion and death are prevalent themes in the book? Explain.

In the example, the participant is already supplied with the answers religion and death as themes, and all he has to do is concur or disagree, and explain why. :)

That's all I can share for now. :D


message 4: by Tina (new)

Tina (tinamats) | 2665 comments My first tip: Don't stress out. :) Seriously. Moderating isn't as hard as it seems. It requires effort, but since you know the people you are going to discuss the book with, it's pretty easy because you can count on them to help you out with the discussion.

Second: Read the book ahead of time, if you can. You have to be a few steps ahead of the members when you're moderating a discussion, because you have to drive the discussion, especially online.

Third: Don't worry if the online discussion isn't as lively. Some people (including me) are just a little lazy in posting online sometimes. The face to face discussion is always livelier. But don't abandon the online one, because you'll see a lot of insights there that you can use in your discussion later, plus it's also for the benefit of those who can't attend the face to face discussion. :)


message 5: by Tina (new)

Tina (tinamats) | 2665 comments Saturday or Sunday Discussion?

The usual schedule for discussions is on a Saturday afternoon (third or fourth week of the month). We've had several Sunday discussions (March and September 2012, February and May 2013), and it was set because of schedule constraints. While most people are more free on Saturday, Sunday discussions still have a good turnout, as long as you set it ahead of time. It's really up to you. :)

We've never had a weeknight discussion, but I don't think that will really fly so much because...well, because we work in different shifts. :D


message 6: by Angus (new)

Angus (angusmiranda) | 4337 comments Yehey! Happy Platinum monthsary to us. :) Let's push for a Platinum anniversary, yes? (Note to self: keep yourself healthy for this event.)

Hi, Tina! You want me to put the attendance at the F2F spreadsheet?

My tips (very timely!):

1. Don't forget the bookmarks. Members go crazy for them. :D
2. When choosing your books, consider their availability. If the winning book is easily available, provide means for the members to have access to it. Audiobooks, ebooks, and mass orders have been done before. Also borrowing and lending. And giveaways if you are feeling a little generous. :D
3. When choosing the venue, consider the menu. If the food leans on the expensive side, let the members know so that they can prepare.
4. It doesn't hurt to shake things a little bit. Remember the Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice discussions? Members were divided into groups. And also the voting process for the September book (ehem!)?
5. And yeah, don't stress it out. I do, however, stress things out, but that's me. It's a good kind of stress for me, so I don't mind. :)


message 7: by Tina (last edited Sep 03, 2013 01:27AM) (new)

Tina (tinamats) | 2665 comments Angus: sure, share it? :)

More on Giveaways:

Trivia: the giveaways started on F2F2: The Little Prince. Everyone followed suit after. :D

This isn't really a requirement, but everyone seems to be doing this now. :) If you can't think of a souvenir, bookmarks are your best friend. Everyone loves bookmarks, even if we have a ton of them at home already. :) Make sure you have extras for all designs you make because everyone will want one of each.

The giveaways don't have to be expensive, if you decide not to go through the bookmark route. Something simple to remember the discussion would do -- you can even make them if you feel like it. :) Everyone would appreciate it. :)


message 8: by Zim (new)

Zim (zimdelapena) | 171 comments Thank you for this thread, TFG! :)


message 9: by Tina (last edited Dec 15, 2013 06:35PM) (new)

Tina (tinamats) | 2665 comments I just thought of another tip. Also, we're almost at our TWENTY-FOURTH DISCUSSION. How...why...I can't even. Look at us! *beams proudly*

On online discussions:
I'd like to tip my (moderator) hat to the current discussion mods for F2F24, Alexa and Cary, because they're making use of so many things online. So as a tip, don't be afraid to do what they did. Go crazy with the threads, plant stuff, make people work and engage them with pre-F2F activities. It would make for a lot of discussion material come F2F. :)

But if you're simply too busy, it's okay, too. As I mentioned up there, the online discussion is really a little less lively. But if you have plans to make it exciting, by all means, go and do so. :)


message 10: by Tina (new)

Tina (tinamats) | 2665 comments Adding this here in case someone's wondering:

If the book you're moderating has a movie/TV show version, you can do something like what we did for Pride and Prejudice in October 2012: Online Group Screening of Pride and Prejudice 1995 TV Series.

Fixing the logistics of this takes a bit of time (and a stable connection), but we can make this work again, if needed.

Personally recommended for classics. :D


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