Raiding 101: Guild Communication

In our Raiding 101 series, we discuss tips and tricks for various aspects of running a guild, which can range from guild leadership duties, to raid leading, to growing as a player. Today, we’ll talk in more detail about maintaining open communication and transparency with your guild.

We’re briefly discussed transparency and the importance of an open-door policy in our articles on finding and trialing your ideal applicant, conflict management, and team morale. Now, we focus on what “transparency” and “open-door” really mean in terms of guild leadership.

How can you establish a culture of transparency and open communication in your community? Read on to learn more!

Table of Contents

Model Good Communication

As always, your leadership team should be demonstrating the behavior you’d like to encourage among your raiders. Not every officer needs to be the warm fuzzy type, but they should all believe in and demonstrate transparency and open communication in their dealings with the raid team and, of course, in their dealings with each other.


Whenever possible, your leadership team should plan to be transparent with the guild and/or raid team about any decisions that may affect them. Do not try to operate behind the scenes – be open and honest about changes and choices. You should never feel you need to provide excessive detail or justify every bit of a decision, but you should always be prepared to give the team information about what’s changing and why.

This can be a difficult task, so be kind to yourselves and allow room to learn and grow. Some changes happen quickly, or maybe they don’t feel unexpected from an administrative or leadership point of view. However, it’s important to remember that your guild members do not necessarily have the same sort of information or big-picture perspective that officers do. Challenge yourselves to routinely consider guild changes or big decisions from a regular guild member point of view; how does this decision look without any background information? How does this decision affect the broader team? Don’t be afraid to ask your guild members if there’s anything they’d like more clarity or transparency on, either. Give your community regular opportunities to ask questions or request more transparency in officer decisions wherever appropriate.


You never need to reveal personal information you’re not comfortable sharing, but if you’ve had a terrible day or a frustrating week, it may be helpful to share that with your team. Not only does this humanize you and bring you closer to your raiders, but it may also help explain the rationale behind some of your behaviors, responses, or decisions that particular raid week. Don’t be afraid to be a bit open and vulnerable with your team; if you’ve had a rough time at work and you need a little bit of extra help or support to make it through the raid week, make that known to your raiders! Seeking support for yourself demonstrates that you feel comfortable opening up to your team, and encourages them to do the same.


If you have a personal concern with another member of the guild, or you are presented with a complaint about someone, set aside a time to speak with that person and face the situation head-on. Hiding your own concerns or those from other guildies will only serve to further complicate the issue, and will result in tension and conflict. To learn more about how avoiding an issue can feed into a bigger problem, read back through our article on conflict management.

Officers should, of course, consider their approach when speaking with a guild member about a personal concern or issue with that person. Remember that you hold a position of authority relative to the guild member, and wield that position responsibly when speaking with them. Do not position your personal disagreement as an officer team concern, and absolutely do not suggest that your personal beef with someone may have any negative repercussions for their spot on the raid team. If you are having a serious conflict with or concern about a community member that may rise to the level of affecting their place in the guild, you need to involve the rest of the officer team in resolving it. For all other situations, plan to approach the guild member directly and talk it out in an open and honest manner.

Provide Multiple Avenues for Communication

You should always plan to offer several different methods of communication to the guild. Some people struggle with confrontation or one-on-one discussions, and may be more comfortable with written communication or anonymous surveys, while others would rather know they are being heard and identified, and hope to receive a direct, personalized response to their concerns. Try to account for as many different communication styles as possible when building your feedback channels.


No matter what other avenues are available, every guild should have at least one officer who is approachable, compassionate, kind, and is positioned as HR or the “complaints department.” Often, this is the recruitment officer, as they are generally the first point of contact for guild members. However, whichever officer(s) you choose for this task, ensure that they frequently check their Discord messages and have great written and verbal communication skills.

While it’s often necessary to relay guild member concerns or complaints back to the full leadership team, it’s important to first offer members the opportunity for a one-on-one meeting with the officer they most trust or feel most comfortable speaking with. If you are approached with the request for a meeting, ask for a brief summary of the subject matter at hand and plan a meeting at a time when you can sit down and give your full focus to the guild member. Prepare to take notes – particularly when facing a complaint. Most importantly, show the guild member that their thoughts matter to you by treating the request with respect and scheduling a meeting quickly.


Polls are a quick and efficient way to collect team responses for important decisions, such as, “Do you want to lock out now?” or “Do you want to do Mythic Fated raids?” When you’re asking an uncomplicated question with simple answers, a poll is a great way to gauge team interest without dedicating too much time to writing (and answering) long-form questions. For quick polls, I recommend StrawPoll, but there are a myriad of different polling websites available for free use.


Even for situations like the above, such as running quick polls, you should have a space in which guildies can ask questions and express their opinions. Of course, ensure that this channel remains compliant with your guild rules and enforce respectful discussion, but do allow raiders to air their concerns and ask questions of leadership. Some guilds have a suggestion box available just to raiders, or to all members, while others provide their guildies with basic channels that are widely accepted as general chat channels or even specifically “question and support” channels. For example, if my officer team is asking for raiders’ opinions, we will make an announcement and link the poll, survey, or question in the Raid News channel, and ask the raiders to discuss their thoughts in Raid Chatter, where we may make use of a thread to keep the discussion going in an organized manner without interrupting the general flow of the channel. Whatever option you choose, encourage your members to discuss and speak up with questions or concerns. Allowing community members the space to discuss amongst themselves will often result in them talking through any concerns without much direct involvement from leadership. However, even if your input is required, having the space to make a singular reply can be a huge timesaver and help you with clarity versus having to answer the same question multiple times in private messages.


Surveys will allow for more detailed questions with nuanced answers, which are perfect for soliciting thoughts, concerns and opinions at the end of a long tier or expansion, or in response to a new guild policy. A survey platform like Survey Monkey offers a wide range of survey types and question formats, although their free options may feel a little limiting. Google Forms provides a simple, accessible way to generate your own survey questions, and you can export all responses to a spreadsheet for easy reference.

Regular surveys are a great way to gauge your guild’s feelings about a wide range of topics, and provide a great deal of information and opportunity for thoughtful answers. I would highly recommend surveying your team at the end of every expansion at minimum, but end-of-tier surveys are a great way to receive targeted feedback and make adjustments to your raid strategies before the release of a new tier.


I will always encourage you to offer at least one method of anonymous feedback. Whether this is a feedback form and/or survey with names optional or an anonymous suggestion box, be aware that you’re much more likely to receive honest feedback if you offer members the opportunity to remain anonymous – just don’t forget to remind people that they’ll need to give a name if they’re expecting to receive an answer about a particular question or concern!

Take Member Communication Seriously

No matter your personal feelings about a member of the community or a specific concern being brought to your attention, please always treat your guildies’ feedback, discussions and concerns with respect.


No matter what, do not punish your members for raising concerns or offering respectful suggestions! The easiest way to shut down communication in your guild is to punish members for making use of the open-door policy you’re trying to establish. Instead, guarantee your guildies that your many methods of communication will allow them a judgment-free place to speak their minds. Of course, disregard suggestions or comments made in bad faith, but learn to recognize what that looks like so you can continue to take seriously any legitimate criticism your guild members may be offering you.

It’s never easy to accept criticism, as we’ve discussed before in our two-part conflict management miniseries, and the feedback may leave you feeling defensive about your guild, your leadership team, or even your individual role in leadership. This tendency to react defensively to criticism about your efforts or something near and dear to your heart is totally natural! However, you should do your best to set those personal feelings aside while you’re giving a guild member the space to speak. There will be a time and a place for you to dissect your own feelings about the feedback you’ve received, but reacting emotionally to a guild member is never the right choice. It is imperative that you remember never to. punish someone for coming forward to file a report or speak about a concern.


Whenever a guild member comes to you and requests a conversation, please ensure you are treating both their request and the resulting conversation with respect and compassion. Not all concerns or complaints need to be addressed, but community members want to feel heard regardless. Sometimes having a member of the leadership team listen with compassion is all a complainant is really looking for.

We have all had problematic guild members who utilize repeated complaints or reports as a way to manipulate situations, influence guild policy in a manner favorable to them, or harass other guild members. Of course, you’ll learn to identify these people and you may choose not to continue entertaining their requests for a meeting; however, assume good intent until shown otherwise, and give every member of the community an equal opportunity to be heard.


When you sit down with someone, first ask them what their goal is for the conversation. Are they hoping for a resolution? Are they hoping to report a concern? Are they simply hoping for a chance to be heard? Determining the goals of the conversation going in will dictate the way you respond. If the speaker is hoping to make a complaint or seek some sort of official response/resolution, you’ll want to be sure you’re keeping notes about the conversation to bring back to your leadership team and to review later on in order to construct a response. If, however, the member is just looking to find a kind person to talk to, you should not need to approach the conversation in quite as official a manner.

Understanding the goal of a conversation will also help you decide how to respond in the moment, and this is true whether you’re having a meeting with a guildie or listening to your partner vent about their day. If the speaker is seeking advice, suggestions, or some way to fix their issue, they are asking for you to provide them with feedback or potential solutions. However, if they are simply looking to be heard or understood, or are venting just to reduce frustration, interrupting the flow of the conversation to offer advice may feel disruptive or even insulting. I struggle all the time with understanding that not everything needs an immediate fix. It can be difficult to refrain from immediately trying to fix everything for someone you care about, but people are often just hoping to be heard and let off some steam.


Being an active listener is far more than just hearing the words being spoken to you. When you’re actively listening to someone else, you are seeking to understand and reflect upon the deeper meaning of the speaker’s words; you are an active participant in the communication process. This is an incredibly important communication skill for anyone in a leadership position because it helps you engage with people in a positive way, and it helps them feel heard, understood, and valued.

Below you’ll find the techniques you should practice in order to be an active listener when your community members come to you with questions or concerns:


1. Pay Close Attention

You should always aim to be fully present in your current conversation with a guild member, giving all your attention to them. This means putting away your phone, setting yourself to “Do Not Disturb” on Discord, and minimizing any windows you may have open. Redirect your mind if it begins to fall into daydream mode and shut down your internal dialogue so you are certain to pay attention to the speaker who has asked for your time. Do not use this time to prepare a rebuttal! You will have time to respond if necessary, but now is not that time.

2. Listen for Non-Verbal Cues

Obviously, it’s difficult to determine the speaker’s body language when you’re not face-to-face, but there are still some non-verbal cues you may be able to pick up on. If the speaker is talking quickly, or with a wavering or unstable voice, they may be anxious, stressed or upset. If they are talking slowly and purposefully, they may be trying to choose their words carefully because they are serious about this topic. Encouraging the speaker with your own verbal cues, like sounds of agreement (“yeah”, “uh huh”, “oh no!”, etc.) can help reassure them that you are listening and not silently judging or zoning out.

3. Ask Open-Ended Questions

Do not constrain or halt the conversation by asking simple “yes” or “no” questions. Instead, show your conversation partner that you are listening and interested in what they are saying by asking thoughtful questions. You may want to ask the speaker to elaborate on a point, discuss in more detail what they thought about something or how it made them feel, or give some ideas about the best path moving forward. Open-ended questions encourage the speaker to think further about their issue and expand upon their concerns, which may help them come to a resolution or further clarity without any further assistance from you.

4. Provide Feedback

When you are sure that your conversation partner has finished speaking, now is your chance to tell them what you heard. When you provide feedback in this manner, you are demonstrating that you care about what they’ve said, and are wanting to ensure you’ve heard them correctly. Paraphrase the concerns they’ve presented to you by using statements like, “What I’m hearing is…”, “What you are saying is…”, etc. Summarize the information that has just been presented to you and give the speaker the opportunity to verify that your understanding is correct.

5. Withhold Judgment

Remain neutral and non-judgmental in your responses. Remember that you want your community members to feel comfortable bringing complaints, reports, and concerns to you. Responding to them with snap judgments or in an unsympathetic manner will only show them that you are not offering a safe and neutral zone for them to air their concerns. During active listening, your role is to be a sounding board; you are not there to jump in with your own thoughts, opinions and judgments about what is being said. Don’t interrupt their speaking time with counter arguments or judgment about their feelings, the situation itself, or anything else.

6. Respond Respectfully and Appropriately

When it is your turn to respond (if indeed the speaker is hoping for a response from you), remain respectful, neutral and empathetic. In fact, feel free to ask if the person you are speaking with would like your response. Be as candid as you can be, and offer the same openness and vulnerability that the speaker has entrusted you with by coming to you in the first place. If you feel you need to provide a more professional response, or handle the situation with intervention from your officer team, step away and plan that response with the officers first. If you feel the complainant should not have come to you in the first place, or that their concern is misplaced or inappropriate, you may want to withhold that particular thought until you have had time to discuss it with your leadership team.

Key Takeaways

There are many aspects of community leadership for which open communication and transparency are a must, as we’ve mentioned in several other articles. Establishing an open-door policy and a culture of transparency is imperative in earning and keeping the trust and loyalty of your community members.

To ensure that your community is a place of open communication, you must first demonstrate transparency in your dealings as a leadership team. Be open and honest about how and why you make certain decisions, as well as being transparent about some aspects of your own life that may contribute to the way in which you interact with the community or make choices. Additionally, remember to model good communication skills by addressing any concerns you may have with a member of the team. Do not allow your own personal frustrations with someone to boil over into a bigger issue when a frank conversation may lead to a simple resolution.

In encouraging your community to provide honest communication and feedback to you, provide them with multiple avenues to do so. Make use of polls, surveys, and public feedback channels for member discussion and questions. Don’t forget to provide at least one anonymous option to allow for truly honest commentary from members who otherwise may not feel comfortable airing grievances!

Finally, it is imperative that you take communication and feedback from your community members seriously, and treat their efforts to be open and honest with the respect they deserve. Allow your community members to provide you with constructive feedback, and never punish them by reacting emotionally or defensively. The fastest way to shut down any open feedback channels with your members is by punishing them for making use of those channels. Remember also to be respectful and non-judgmental, and practice your active listening skills whenever you are hearing out members’ concerns.

A closed off, silent community is not a successful community. Growing a community of respect and honest communication is never a quick process, but continue to demonstrate and encourage transparency – the end result is so worth the process!


About the Author

Gogogadgetkat has been playing WoW since late BC, and has been the GM of her guild Propaganda since its creation in 2014. As a career healer, Kat has a number of CEs and old-school heroic kills under her belt, all on a variety of healing classes and specs—she’s a serial altoholic! In addition to Mythic raiding and a little Mythic+, creating safe, inclusive spaces in gaming is her longtime passion; Kat has been an admin for the Perky Pugs community since late BfA, and is also a founding council member and the community manager for the DEIBAJ initiative Liquid Women in Warcraft. She is excited to bring her wealth of experience and love of writing to the Raider.IO team.