Our Coffee Table Groups have been one of the most popular and valuable features for members of our community. Coffee Table Groups are small, special interest groups created and run by our members. They can involve Zoom meetings, async Slack hangouts, or anything else the members would like to do.
Table of ContentsPermalink to “Table of Contents”
- Coffee Table Group Definition
- Coffee Table Group Leader Definition
- Starting a New Coffee Table Group
- Best Practices
Coffee Table Group DefinitionPermalink to “Coffee Table Group Definition”
A group with a common interest that would like to cultivate it through more intimate and scheduled conversation. Member-led, developed, and driven for other Virtual Coffee members. Coffee Table Groups adhere to the Virtual Coffee Code of Conduct and hold community feedback in the highest regard. The result is a meetup with a smaller group that will implement suggestions. Because these groups are part of the Virtual Coffee community, industry veterans may be in attendance, willing to engage and connect, or the Leaders may encourage attendees to speak with specific Virtual Coffee members per topic of conversation.
Check out our list of existing Coffee Table Groups.
Coffee Table Group Leader DefinitionPermalink to “Coffee Table Group Leader Definition”
A Coffee Table Group Leader creates a space and context for conversation. Current Leaders describe the role as a Coffee Room Leader with a content focus. A Leader hosts events on a consistent schedule, comes up with topics to discuss for each event, and encourages attendees. They also set expectations for attendees via clear communication about scheduling and giving new members context when they join.
GuidelinesPermalink to “Guidelines”
- If using the VC-events CMS, have 1-2 group Leaders willing to schedule and communicate with Virtual Coffee Maintainers.
- Adherence to the Virtual Coffee Code of Conduct.
- Use the Code of Conduct Violation Form rather than trying to take care of Code of Conduct violations yourself.
- Clearly relate any guidelines or requirements to members of your group. For example, let them know if they must commit to leading a session, have a specific experience level, etc.
Best PracticesPermalink to “Best Practices”
Each Coffee Table Group will have its own approach and personality. Still, creating an environment where your group members feel supported and know what to expect is important. Here are some tips to help establish a healthy group:
Group FormatPermalink to “Group Format”
- Determine the schedule, type, and format for your group.
- Will you meet weekly, monthly, or some other way?
- Will it always be a synchronous meeting?
- Will you have async check-ins in between meetings?
ExpectationsPermalink to “Expectations”
- Type of meeting (Q&A, presentation, small group conversations, pair programming, interactive, etc.).
- Is there material that needs to be covered?
- Will members be asked to lead a session?
- Are other volunteers or co-leads needed?
- Are there expectations for communication among the group members? Where will you be communicating (Slack channel, only in Zoom, etc.)?
- Are there expectations for communicating in a video chat (for example, using the hand raise function, doing an intro, etc.)?
- Please provide the following links in video meetings:
Ending a GroupPermalink to “Ending a Group”
If your group is ongoing, there might be a point where you don't have the time or energy to continue hosting. That's okay. All volunteers (and leading a Coffee Table Group is definitely also an act of volunteering) must know that it is always okay to prioritize their mental and physical health. Rather than discontinuing the group by not scheduling a new one, see if anyone in the group or the larger Virtual Coffee community is willing to take on the responsibility. Communicate with your Coffee Table Group about the need for a new host. If you're unable to do so, let the Maintainers know.