If the lockdowns caused by the coronavirus have kept you apart from friends and family, you might want to consider hosting a virtual party. Hosting an online event requires picking a virtual space, sending out invitations, decorating backgrounds, and planning games and activities.
A virtual party can help you stay connected and have fun. They even allow you to celebrate birthday parties and holidays even if everyone is many miles apart. The idea is to approach it with a good attitude and with a plan. The first one is up to you. The following can help with the second one.
Planning An Online Event
Just like an in-person party, a virtual party requires planning. The key points to consider include the following. They apply no matter what type of online event you plan to hold, from a birthday party to game night.
Pick A Virtual Space
Setting up most parties requires choosing an outdoor or indoor location with the right amenities. Virtual parties have even more choices. It’s best to look at options through the lens of what you need to throw the best possible party. At the least, you will want an online event spot that allows for video conferencing and other functions you may need, including direct messages and the ability to upload pictures, slideshows and videos. Popular choices include Google Hangouts, FaceTime, Zoom and Skype.
With online events, you can choose a simple group message that invites everyone to join the party at a certain date or time. If you want something more fancy, you can create a clever e-invite and email it to your guest list.
Pick a Theme
This is where what kind of party you throw comes into play. Set up your computer and turn on the camera to see what people will see behind you. Then, decorate the background to fit your theme. When you send invites, encourage everyone else to do the same. Balloons, streamers and wall art are popular choices for decorations. If the party has a theme such as the Roaring Twenties, ask everyone to dress up, as well.
This also begs the question: What kind of online events work best as virtual parties? Because virtual spaces are so flexible, you can really do almost any kind of party. They include:
- Game night
- Happy hours
- Costume party
- Virtual watch parties
- Talent shows
- Book club
Games and Activities
Some parties imply the activities. A book club will discuss books. A talent show means doing something to show off a talent (hopefully). A birthday party means a cake and singing that song we all know. Other virtual parties require offering games. But what works well online? Depending on the party theme, you could choose virtual board games, show and tell, a Netflix watch party, Charades, Pictionary, trivia games or even a dance party.
More Tips For Virtual Parties
Other online event tips include some practical issues and common video conferencing problems. Keep these in mind to make the event run smoothly.
Mute microphone when others talk. Your mic can pick up background noise and make it hard to people to hear what someone else is saying. It helps to also use headphones.
Camera at face level. People want to see faces. Keep the camera on your computer at about eye level so they can see you clearly.
Watch for camera lag. Lag time is something that will happen with virtual parties. Let people know that this could happen and that some people may have to sign out and sign back in if things get bad enough.
Throwing a virtual party is fun for you and your guests. Another thing to remember: focus on the party and enjoying each other’s company. Don’t get bogged down in the news of the day. A virtual party is a chance to enjoy friends and escape from the outside world for a while.