Getting your friends together in person for a book club meeting is a lot of fun, but it’s not always possible to round up the whole gang. If this is something your book club is grappling with, why not try holding a video chat book club meeting? The Bookish staff tried this format out for our own book club meeting for our summer 2019’s Kelly’s Pick, and we had a blast. Here, we’re sharing our experiences and tips so your book club can have a successful video chat meeting!
Use headphones with a microphone
First things first: Your fellow book clubbers need to be able to hear you loud and clear. Come prepared to your meeting with headphones that have a built-in microphone. This will help you block out any distracting background noise.
Make a strong connection
Is there a spot in your home where the internet is really slow? You don’t want to do your book club video chat there. You’ll want to avoid a lagging video chat because it’s difficult to have a great discussion if one person’s feed keeps breaking up or is a few seconds behind.
Lighting is key
When setting up your webcam, make sure that any natural light (like a window) is behind your camera and not behind you. If you’re sitting with a light source behind you, it will be difficult for other members to see you.
Make your background presentable
Your book club members are going to see whatever is in the background behind you, so hide all of your dirty laundry and the piles of junk. Before the meeting, test your chosen spot by opening up your webcam and checking out what’s behind you in frame. We suggest that you move anything you’d feel embarrassed for your fellow members to see.
Dress from the waist up
It’s not just your background that needs to be presentable–you do, too! The good thing is that your book club will only see your face and shirt. You can wear your pajama pants to your book club meeting and no one will ever know.
Show and tell
If you’re having your meeting via video chat (as opposed to a phone call), make the most of the things by bringing items that you can use to further the discussion. You can have the book on hand with your notes. You can dress up like one of the characters from the book. You could even set up a personal spread of food and drink inspired by your reading.
Familiarize yourself with your video chat program
If you’re not comfortable using Google Hangouts, Skype, or another program, make sure that you log on a few minutes early to figure out how it works and where the controls are. What if you get a phone call or you need to blow your nose? You don’t want your book club to see or hear that! There are mute buttons for both audio and visual displays in these programs so you can cut out for a second.