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Community Club Weekly

Issue #95 | Sep 30, 2021

Community Club Weekly is a newsletter about building and growing communities, featuring collected tweets, posts, and thoughts from various Community Managers.

🙃 How to Approach Topics That Might Be Seen As 'Uncomfortable' in Your Community


By Willa Tellekson-Flash

In my first job after college, I found myself explaining to a customer how to use a tampon.

Par for the course, as I worked on the customer experience team for a company that sold period and sexual health products. During one of my first few weeks, the customer wrote in asking how to use our tampons — she couldn’t figure out how to use the applicator. Her message was apologetic. It was clear that she was embarrassed to be asking the question.

Understandable, you may think, but consider it this way — there would be no shame in asking how to use a new vacuum cleaner. But because she was asking a question that related to her period and her body, the interaction felt so much more sensitive and personal.

As I wrote back to her, I thought carefully about my tone and the way that I balanced conversational friendliness and clear information. My goal was not only to answer her question, but also to put her at ease and assure her that this was a perfectly normal question to ask. The end result? Not only did she appreciate having a better understanding of how to use the product, but she also felt comfortable asking more questions, knowing that they’d be received and responded to with care. Through that interaction, we built trust.

In these moments, communities look to the folks leading them to create safe environments for them, and so navigating these conversations is a skill that is important to anyone in a community-facing role. Between starting my career in the period and sexual health space (Lola), and now leading a community that centers on conversations about money (Public.com), I’ve had my fair share of personal, sensitive conversations. These are my strategies for approaching them.

Break the ice

As a community leader, you are respected and looked up to by the folks in your community. If you show that you’re comfortable talking about something that is traditionally seen as uncomfortable, others will follow suit.

Always be willing to share first, and if you can, rely on personal anecdotes or examples. When we first started building the community at Public.com, instead of strictly talking about investments, I would share stories about how I first learned about personal finance topics to make it clear that this was a space where conversations about money didn’t need to be solely technical or analytical. Similarly, at Lola’s in-person community breakfasts, our Community Manager would start the event by sharing her first period story before asking attendees to do the same.

Language matters

The language you use in conversation guides its direction, too. I’m a big proponent of specific language, because it signals comfort with the subject matter and an openness to engage. When talking about period health for example, using the words “periods” and “menstruation” instead of “time of the month” or “aunt flow” helped send the message that there is nothing embarrassing or shameful about talking about periods.

Slang can have a lot of complex connotations that can be avoided by using specific language. If your community meets in person, body language matters a lot too. Make eye contact, avoid slouching, and avoid mumbling or speaking in hushed tones. The way you embody physical space can do a lot to put your community at ease.

Help people find their entry points

Even if you’ve created a safe space for uncomfortable discussions, your members still may need an extra nudge to jump in. At Public, members of our community who are newer to investing may not feel like they have enough knowledge to actively participate in conversations.

But by learning about the products that they use in their day-to-day lives, we can often make connections to publicly traded companies that they actually know a lot about. A runner may have a favorite apparel or shoe brand, and if that’s a publicly traded company, then talking about that company gives them a foothold (pun intended) into talking about investing.

In your role as a community leader, you’ve likely put in the work to get to know your members, so put that knowledge to use to ask questions or help point out areas of connection for them. Identifying areas of familiarity for a member within a larger discussion is a great way to encourage them to be a more active participant.

Protect the space

Having clear community guidelines is crucial for any community, to set expectations around what behavior is and is not acceptable within your community space. If your community is covering sensitive or uncomfortable topics, community guidelines become even more important in order to protect the trust built among members.

Inclusive language or personal privacy may be especially important to you as you define rules for your community. Make sure your community guidelines are clearly outlined and easy to find (Alex Angel wrote a great post on that here), and react swiftly anytime the rules are violated.

As the leader of your community, protecting the space will reinforce your members’ trust in the safety of the environment where uncomfortable conversations are taking place.

For more tips and guidance, read the full version of this article here

🍨 C School Scoop


We've got two new cohorts launching soon! Here are some details on how to apply and learn more.
 

Coaching Track Cohort — applications close tomorrow

Who it's for: Current Community Managers at the individual contributor level with between 0-3 years experience.

What you'll master: Up-leveling your current contributions, producing a community strategy.

Classes start: October 25, 2021

Find out more on our site or watch our info session here (password: 8$&#!Lf0)

Submit an application by October 1st (that's tomorrow!) here.
 

Career Track Cohort — applications close Oct 8th

Who it's for: Career changers looking to pivot into community management.

What you'll master: Foundations of community management and all the skills you need to find your first job.

Classes start: November 8, 2021

Find out more on our site or watch our info session here (password: @Gf%k8?S)

Submit an application by October 8th here.

✨ If you have any questions, pop them over to cschool@community.club.

📆 Upcoming Events

Upcoming events, from the club and its members

The Virtual School House: The Opportunity and Challenge of eLearning — Sept 30 @ 12 p.m.

Community Builders' Summit: Redesigning Companies as Communities — Oct 4 - 8

Future Developer Summit Episode #3: Defining Success & Metrics — Oct 6 @ 11 a.m. ET

The Battle Between Engagement and Impact with Tex Dworkin — Oct 7 @ 3 p.m. ET

How to Foster a Meaningful & Engaged Education Community — Oct 12 @ 3 p.m. ET

Forming an Effective Community Strategy with Brian Oblinger — Oct 13 @ 12:30 p.m. ET

🐦 Community Tweets

We love a good community metaphor. 
An interesting idea... 
This photo, though. 😍

📚 Community Content List

Community blog posts, articles, podcasts, and videos from the past week
 

In Before The LockMoney on the Table

How sales and community can partner together to build trust, educate customers, and drive revenue.

By Erica Kuhl & Brian Oblinger

Why We Need Chief Community Officers

Community is a thread that runs through your entire business — your Chief Community Officer is the one who weaves it.

By Mac Reddin

DevRel Collective 2021 Salary Survey


A fascinating look at salaries and benefits paid to DevRel professionals around the globe.

By DevRel Collective
 

How Slow & Steady Growth was the Right Way to Build Dreamers & Doers


A chat with Dreamers & Doers founder and CEO Gesche Haas on how she built her thriving, paid-for community.

By Kirsti Buick 

🙌 Community Jobs

A few job opportunities, sourced from the community.
 

Head of Community & Events @ Dreamers & Doers

Community Growth Associate @ ReVV

Head of Community @ Eventbrite

Community Manager @ Braintrust

Community Manager @ First Round

Community Manager @ Fivetran

Community Moderation Program Manager @ Discord

Community Lead @ Vitalize Venture Capital

Community Manager @ SPOKE

Online Community Manager @ Paper
 

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View more roles and join the Talent Network

👋 We Want to Meet You

Have you joined our Meetsy yet? Meetsy is a platform that helps communities create meaningful introductions and connections, and we're using it to help The Community Club network — Community Managers, execs, folks just starting out, moderators, and more!

Once you fill out your profile, you'll be matched with other people in the community every two weeks. You can always adjust your preferences to meet more or less frequently — and you can browse the member directory to make direct connection requests, too. We hope to see you there soon!

Connect with us!

😎 Share This, Get Cool Stuff

If you have any friends who might find the content we create helpful for their own community-building journey, we'd love it if you'd let them know about our newsletter. We've got some pretty cool swag to give away (including our famously cozy Community-Led sweatshirt) to make it worth your while. 

Head over here for more info.

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This week brought to you by...

our Content Creator, Kirsti, whose lunchtime walks have given her a whole new lease on life. 

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