Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, events around the country have been postponed indefinitely. With no immediate end in sight, it almost feels like we’ll all be trapped indoors for the rest of the year.
Fortunately, just because there’s a pandemic doesn’t mean you can’t have fun! A virtual party allows you to see friends and family from the comfort and safety of home. In this article, we’re going to show you some tips and tricks to make sure that your virtual event goes smoothly.
Step One: Choose a Hosting Platform
These days, Zoom is the primary software of choice, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only option. Alternatives can include Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger Groups, Skype, and even a program called House Party.
Before hosting your event, we recommend trying each of these platforms to see what works best, both for yourself and for guests. Some of them will require users to set up an account. Others, like Zoom, allow newbies to call in for a specific meeting without having to sign up. Depending on the size and scope of your event, it may be best to choose a platform that doesn’t require login credentials from everyone.
Step Two: Focus Your Virtual Party
When hosting an in-person gathering, it’s easy to have multiple things going on simultaneously. For example, perhaps there’s a photo booth, some hosted games, and a cocktail lounge. This kind of setup allows guests to move through the party during the night and keeps things exciting.
With a virtual party, however, you have a captive audience and you don’t have the ability to offer multiple attractions. So, you’ll have to focus your event around a single theme or purpose. Some examples can include:
- Graduation Party – Celebrate the grads with some virtual games and a slideshow of his or her time in high school.
- Happy Hour – Play some drinking games with friends, such as Never Have I Ever.
- Bingo Night – Nothing’s easier than calling some Bingo numbers while everyone follows along with digital cards.
- Trivia Night – Since bars are still closed, a trivia night with friends and co-workers can keep the event flowing smoothly. For best results, offer small prizes that can be mailed easily.
Overall, we recommend limiting your event to around one hour or 90 minutes. Because there can be so many distractions at home, you want to keep your guests engaged as much as possible. This is harder with longer virtual events.
Step Three: Do a Practice Run
Because virtual events rely on technology, you can’t always be sure that everything will run smoothly. Once you choose a platform, we recommend setting up a small meeting with close friends or family. This way, you can anticipate any problems that guests will run into and address them before the night of the event. You can also set up your background ahead of time and see how it looks to others. Whether it’s virtual or physical, having a funky backdrop will make your event a little brighter. Also, it makes it easier for guests to see you in the gallery view.
Step Four: Create an Event Itinerary
While this step isn’t always necessary, drafting an itinerary can help you stay focused and on point throughout the night. Otherwise, it’s too easy for the event to become a mishmash of people trying to talk over one another, which can make it less fun. For example, a sample itinerary for a Trivia Night could include:
- 6 pm – Opening Remarks/Welcome
- 6:15 pm – First Round of Questions
- 6:30 pm – Second Round of Questions
- 6:45 pm – Third Round of Questions
- 7 pm – 10 min Break
- 7:10 pm – Final Round of Questions
- 7:25 pm – Winner Announcements/Prize Giveaway
- 7:40 pm – Closing Remarks
Other Options to Create Engagement
Since you can’t interact with everyone physically, you have to get creative with ways to engage your guests. Some options can include:
- Costumes – Have everyone dress in a costume related to the night’s theme. Offer a small prize for the best-dressed guests.
- Signature Drink – Come up with a cocktail selection and send the recipe to everyone beforehand.
- Virtual Backgrounds – Platforms like Zoom enable users to create a virtual backdrop. Like costumes, you can pick a winner based on the most creative backgrounds.
- Breakout Rooms – Zoom also has the option for breakout rooms, which enables small groups to meet individually. This option can come in handy so you can have multiple activities going on simultaneously, or groups can converse with each other for game night. These rooms offer some privacy and flexibility for your event.
Contact The Party Team Today
If you’re interested in hosting a virtual event, we can help you find the best options for your group. Whether you’re trying to have a party with friends, co-workers, or a nonprofit, we know what it takes to make your night a hit. Call us today to find out more, or visit our virtual events page here.