Online Death Cafes a success!

This work was originally published on the Death Cafe site on the 13th June 2013.

Since then we've further clarified the core Death Cafe model as being without questions.

This work indicates that questions may be more necessary with online Death Cafes.

However for it to be a Death Cafe the conversation must be led by participants as much as possible.

You can post online Death Cafes to this site. Please do organise one if you'd like to :)

So we held 3 online Death Cafes earlier this month. We had a great team working on this, in particular our brave hosts Betsy TrapassoKristie West and Eveian Salmon. They gallantly stepped into the unknown and offered Death Cafes over cyberspace and we couldn't have asked for a better crew.

This has generated some good material and below you can see:


  • The results of the survey that we asked people to fill in
  • A blog post by Kristie about the event
  • Eveian's notes on facilitation and what we need to do to take this forward.

100% of those who responded to our survey said that we should offer more online Death Cafes! Eveian is looking to run more in the future and Betsy has been busy holding amazing events in LA. Kristie is taking the bull by the horns however with regular online Death Cafes - great news! We'll post these on this website and you can also stay tuned on her site.

There is plenty to do to take this work forward. This includes hosting online Death Cafes and helping us to develop online Death Cafes. If you'd like to be involved then please get in touch: underwoodjon @

And if you'd like to attend an online Death Cafe then watch this space. In the meantime thanks to all involved :)


Survey Results

There were 11 respondents, 2 of whom were Death Cafe facilitators and the others participants. Of these 9, 8 said that they had been to a Death Cafe before.


5 of the 8 comments on this mentioned technical issues!

Sample comments:

Very thought-provoking, I really enjoyed the session.

I enjoyed the interaction very much. This was the first time I used the Google Hangout. The immediacy of a `round the world connectiveness in an immediacy of conversation is intrinsically reinforcing.

Took a bit to sort out the tech stuff and then I had to leave early so we didn't have much time to talk. What we did talk about was great.




Sample comments:

It affirms my belief that people really want to talk about death and share their experiences, and that doing so is good for the psyche.

It made me feel much better to be able to talk about death as if it was normal which was a great relief



Sample comments:

It made me feel better about my life, more involved

I always feel a great sense of intimacy when talking with people about death.

It has shown me that we should live a full and productive life while we can.

Had to post this twice :) This is the big result and a real boost to do more online Death Cafes. However note the comment on the need for a more dependable means of communicating. All suggestions with regard to this welcomed!

Sample comments:

There are many cities in which the extension of Death Café `hospitality’ just does not contact. The on-line connectiveness and interaction does provide and offer support for those who would more readily feel the support of initiating the organizing logistics.

A more dependable means of communication needs to be found, understanding there will always be variables.

I'm going to do a bunch regularly ;)
 [Ed - think this might be Kristie West!]


Our core Death Cafe model is to let the group generate the discussion topics with minimal prompting from the facilitator. However it is also fairly common for facilitators to introduce themes and questions. Some comments appear to indicate that the latter method may be more suitable for online Death Cafes. Please share any views that you have.

Sample comments:

The questions were very good and were presented clearly. This gave the attendees to provide their inputs in a more concise manner. There were no silent moments during the meeting. Eveian gave the correct amount of time for the participants to have their say without interruption, and then smoothly transitioning into the next question. Participants were respective of each other and their opinions

Being online means adjusting slightly

Yes..there were a few technical glitches, but familiarity with sequence procedures are easily acquired.

I think, picking a specific topic to focus on would help generate more meaningful dialogue. For instance, topic for one week could be legal issues, after-life, euthenasia, etc.

I use the same model for my own death cafes or discussion groups. Everyone intrduces themselves and why they are here and we take it from there.

Eveian led it very well, structuring the session with a series of very insightful themes and questions.

Thanks again to everyone who took part in the survey.


First Online Death Cafe!

By Kristie West

This wasn’t our actual Death Cafe. Barack Obama wasn’t there, this is just what a google hangout looks like…but wouldn’t that be cool.


A couple of nights ago I held my first online Death Cafe.  To the best of my knowledge it was the second one ever held online (the first having been run from LA 2 days earlier).


God I love our digital world.


There were 8 to begin (we lost 2 along the way – to internet issues, not death) and in terms of our physical  locations we were to be found in London, Oxford, Portugal, California, Arizona, and Tauranga.  Google hangouts brought us all face-to-face on the computer screen.


Everyone had a drink (compulsory – you wouldn’t sit in a cafe without a drink, would you?) with the option of cake.  I seemed to be the only one who had something cakeish – some cookies I had baked earlier in the day (it was my first time baking in about 20 years so I was quite proud…though the cookies were horrendous.  I ate them anyway.)


Once we had gotten through the initial teething problems of using google hangouts for the first time, we introduced ourselves and everyone seemed to be quite comfortable with each other very quickly.  Death is, after all, the greatest leveller.

As always the topic was death.  And life.  One can’t really (and shouldn’t) be discussed without the other as the two go hand-in-hand.

The conversation goes wherever it wants to in a Death Cafe….and at this one the Death Cafe movement itself was discussed as there were some attendees who were looking to run their own – how to run them, the importance of them, how to tell people about them.  We also spent some time talking about why some people act offended by the idea of Death Cafes and actually around death itself.

Among other death-related topics, we chatted about funeral plans (our own) or lack thereof and how different members of the group has used deaths in their lives, religious thinking around death, and things we might want to get done if we knew it was our last year of life.

The one and a half hour get-together went so fast.  Too fast.  And I really would have loved to chat with the group for hours.  But for some of us it was bedtime, some lunch time, and for others it was time to tend to the kids who had just gotten up for school.

It was so amazing to bring together a group from all around the globe, from their bedrooms/living rooms/ studies, to all meet and chat about death in a relaxed way.

The feedback was brilliant and I will shortly (in the next couple of weeks) be starting up regular online Death Cafes on different days and at different times, to allow for as many people as possible to attend from wherever they are in the world, no matter what their time zone or routine, from the comfort of their homes.

If you are interested in attending or want to know a bit more then get in touch!!

Much love,



Eveian Salmon's Online Death Cafe Notes



The Death Cafe went very well today.


Everything went as planned and there were no technical difficulties (thank goodness).


It was 3 of us on the call and we spent 1 hour having a very fun, relaxed and open discussion.


This was what I did to prepare and deliver the cafe:


  • Set date and time
  • Created promotional poster
  • Set up Facebook event
  • Posted details on Twitter and Spiritual Network website.
  • Communicate / take bookings – took details of skype usernames
  • Skype usernames placed in my Skype contacts
  • Created a Death Cafe Group in Skype and placed contacts (prospective participants) in Death Cafe Group - at the start of the Cafe just clicked on Video Call and all participants can see and hear each other.
  • Produced outline of the session which was as follows:
    • Welcome and intro
    • Housekeeping – i.e. what to do if there are any technical difficulties
    • Discuss how the you plan to run the cafe
    • Death Cafe Rules
    • Introduced ourselves to the group and stated reasons for coming to the cafe
    • Put forward a series of questions to participants to provoke discussion
      • Q. To start - Discussed article – Hot summers Could Turn London into Isle of Death by 2080. Discussed what age would you like to die.
      • Q. The Media and Death
      • Q. Respect the Dead!
      • Q. How is death better than being alive?
      • Q. To finish – Death, is it a process or event?
      • To finish – Thank participants for attending and to look out for evaluation form.

 Going forward this is what I’d like to suggest:

  • Instructions and checklist for the Online Facilitators – could include the things I did for my cafe and one set of instructions for each video conferencing platform.
  • Instructions for the participants
  • Not sure if this is possible but how about an online booking system on the website where participants can click and book an online cafe and receive confirmation of booking. The Facilitator would also receive details of participants booking. I think there maybe some free online booking systems.