The topic of talking about books might seem kind of self-evident to some people. But other people are intimidated by reading a book and then going to book club and talking about it. Sometimes people aren’t sure what they’re supposed to say or how they’re supposed to say it. So I want to give you some tips on how to talk about books.
1. Take notebooks
My first piece of advice is to take some notes as you’re reading. Go back and review your notes and pick out a couple of little things you had written down, maybe questions or quotations that struck you as interesting. Whatever they are, they’re your impressions. Taking notes also helps, at least with memory. So if you don’t take notes, you tend to forget. And it makes it much harder when it’s time to have a conversation. You can’t even remember very much detail about what you read. So take notebook always comes with you.
2. Be confident
Another thing to try to attain in your conversations about books is both being confident in asserting your ideas and being open to having somebody else change your mind about something. You can say some assertive sentences like, oh, really? It’s something that makes for interesting dynamic conversation. Be confident and open to change, come into play, and make for a more interesting conversation.
3. Understand the book theme
When talking about a book, try to think like a writer, not just a reader. Think about the things that go beyond what the writer wanted you to see, the plot, character, themes, dialogue, whatever it is. And think about the choices that the writer was making. I’ve talked about this many times before, but it’s one of the things that makes for a more interesting conversation. So you should not just read the book for the surface as a story. You need to read it as a work of art that a creator put together.
So you’ll see us making predictions that turned out not to come to pass and trying to pull together themes and figure out what held the novel together. One great thing to look at specifically when you’re trying to do that, look at a novel thematically.
4. Setup your intention
The best conversations and the best conversationalists always set the intention for the conversation. And this helps reduce awkward situations. That doesn’t happen when you set an intention. So before you say something about any book to someone, make sure the listener is in the mood and wants to discuss the book. Are you there to learn something about someone just setting that minor intention? It helps you guide your conversation. You need to have that guiding drive to know what you want to talk about or ask. So set your intention before you even show up.
5. Focus your approach & body language
When you think about the conversation, you usually think about the first line. But research shows that our first impression doesn’t happen when we first hear someone. It occurs when you first see someone. So the best conversationalist always approaches. They almost start their conversation on the approach. When you’re about to initiate conversation, or you’re about to go to someone, introduce yourself is set yourself up. So the best first impression happens when you have nice open body language. You need your hands visible out of pockets, not in.
Helps with your trust cues. And then having your shoulders down and back. So shoulders down and back. And then your smile is your opening line. Smile at someone says it warms them upright to them going. It gets them sort of already going. It’s like your opening line a little bit, your smile.
Conversation sparks are the nonverbal cue when you’re engaging curiosity and engaging someone to go. Everyone does one thing when they are super engaged, and it’s the eyebrow raise. That means you’re listening.
Bonus tip – Don’t interrupt
Don’t interrupt them. When you want to be approached or talk to someone else, look for the pivot out. That’s when someone’s they’re talking to each other, but their body is angled out. Their toes are angled out. That means they’re much more available to approach, and you want to do the same. So make sure you pivot out towards the room that signals people that you are open physically and literally. Be a good listener when someone talks and gives them space and time to finish their opinion. It’s the best way to enjoy the conversation.