We all have spent countless nights catching up over FaceTime (other tools) and sending our loved ones messages, texts and letters. I’ve learned that no matter the distance, you can still keep your loved ones close.
Staying Together While Apart
During quarantine, I’ve kept up with loved ones near and far by attending virtual birthday parties, double dates, friend group hangouts and themed happy hours with my coworkers. It’s made a world of a difference. And I’m not alone.
You can look forward to attending more virtual events like cocktail hours and Virtual Birthdays catching up with her mother and daughter. She points out that just because their times spent together are virtual, it doesn’t mean they are any less special, or that they should be put on hold.
Hosting a virtual party may seem daunting at first, but there’s a way to make it incredibly fun for all people involved. Whether you’re hosting a virtual birthday party or a virtual happy hour with your coworker, here’s the best virtual party tips so you can sit back and have some fun.
Which Platform Should I Use?
- FaceTime: If your whole group owns iPhones or Macs, try using FaceTime. It’s as simple as video chatting gets. Scroll to your FaceTime app, click the + symbol button, select your friends and there you have it! You’re on a video call in no time.
- Zoom is on the rise across the country. I recommend using Zoom for larger groups. The best feature? It shows everyone’s camera simultaneously. No need to wait for the cameras to rotate while speaking.
- Skype: This app is perfect for large groups, this classic video platform can be used on multiple devices from phones to Xboxes. You can even call and text cell phone numbers from Skype.
- Facebook Messenger: If you have a small group, I recommend using Facebook Messenger. This app is easy to use and if you have a Facebook account, you don’t need to set-up anything new to participate.
- Google Hangouts: Just like Facebook Messenger, the biggest perk of Google Hangouts is that you don’t need to make another account to video chat. Google Hangouts is free to use straight from your Google account.
- Houseparty is perfect for small group game nights. This app has a built-in feature where you can play games from Pictionary to Heads Up. Let the games begin!
How to Host a Virtual Party
1. Send virtual invite
Virtual invites can be as formal or as simple as you’d like. It’s truly up to you. You can send out a quick group text or if you’re feeling fancy, whip up a virtual party invite and send it out over e-mail.
2. Plan together beforehand
No one wants to show up to a party unprepared. Discuss the party theme (I’ve listed a number of ideas below) with your group beforehand and what each party go-er should bring, cook or dress up in.
3. Designate responsibilities
If you’re having a virtual holiday or themed party, designate any tasks and responsibilities out to your friends and family. For example, if you’re hosting a virtual game night, be sure to have a designated “game leader” who will establish the game rules and lead the game.
4. Let’s party!
Dress up, set up your camera and get your party snacks and drinks ready. It’s time to have some fun!
Virtual Party Tips
Mute your microphone when others are speaking
This tip is especially important if you’re on a large group call. Even if you’re not speaking, your microphone will pick up the background noises going on behind you.
If you’re hosting a virtual party in a busy room, try using headphones. That way, your conversation can be kept with just you and the party go-ers and you can easily hear the conversation.
Place your camera at face level
Whether you’re using a laptop or phone, placing your camera at face level is a must. Your family wants to see your smiling face! I recommend placing your camera on a flat surface, like a table or desk. If you’re tired of holding your phone up, try propping it up against a small object like a book or candle.
Avoid busy backgrounds
Avoid backgrounds that are backlit or busy (unless you’re using a fun Zoom backdrop). I recommend sitting in front of a plain wall with light that is directed towards your face.
Be mindful of camera lagging
Camera lagging is pretty typical when video chatting, but don’t fret! If you have a spotty connection, give your friends and family a heads up beforehand. So if you’re camera goes out, they’ll know you’ll be right back as soon as you can. Also, keep in mind that some cameras will lag more than others when chatting. I usually wait a couple of seconds after someone speaks to make sure we don’t talk over one another.