All work and no play makes for a dull company, which is why every now and then, we at Brevo like to throw parties. Even now, we try to find the time to come together and rock out—we just happen to do it digitally.
Virtual video conference parties can be fun, but they’re not exactly easy to put together. It’s difficult to replicate the feel of a physical gathering, and we have to acknowledge the reality of Zoom fatigue. Still, it’s all we got, and it’s important for coworkers to meet virtually for recreational purposes!
When you get right down to it, connecting through the internet allows us to come together, build strong bonds, and make meaningful attachments. So we put together a list of best practices that can make your virtual gathering a night to remember.
A theme-less party is like a burger without toppings—it’s fine, but why settle for plain? Your party needs a theme, a concept, an idea that people can get behind. The theme can dictate your virtual party’s general vibe.
It’s also a chance to dress up! A Christmas or Halloween party will compel your guests to come correct in festive costumes or attire. And if the virtual party doesn’t fall on a particular holiday, that’s just more room to move around in! How about “Disco”? Or “Summer in the 90s”? Or “Mall Punk”? Organizers get a chance to go bananas with key words while guests get to make sense of the theme like a puzzle.
Consider as well a collaborative effort where the whole team decides on a theme together—that can take the form of a poll or a brainstorm. Themes are like creative prompts for your guests, that allow them to express themselves in unique ways.
Y’know how party invitations are automatically more enticing if they say there’s an open bar? That still applies to online gatherings, believe it or not, even though the new normal doesn’t let drinks flow as freely. When a company sends physical favors to their employees for the party, like free food and booze (and non-alcoholic options too!), that’s them saying “Hey, we’re bringin’ the party to you.”
Remember: “eat, drink, and be merry” isn’t just a suggestion—it’s a sequence of steps. You gotta do the first two before you can have a good time.
Setting the rhythm of a party happens as soon as people show up. A few early birds come in, hosts get a chance to give their ice breakers a test drive, and people get to ease into the feeling of being in the group. More people enter the virtual room, turn their mics and cameras on, and find themselves in a conversation finding its footing. The last batch of people come in fashionably late, and by this point the gathering has settled into a kind of groove, with people talking and listening and acclimating to the atmosphere.
This isn’t something you can achieve when everybody comes in at the same time, all at once, which can be overwhelming. So here’s a tip from Business Insider: stagger your invites! Make an invitation plan that lets people attend gradually, in portions and increments.
Speaking of rhythm! Nobody wants to show up at a party and be met with dead air, or the plain white noise of chatter. Ideally a playlist of bops is already doing its thing in the background. A solid party playlist can help build an atmosphere, and get your guests in the right mindset!
Ideally, you’ve got somebody manning the DJ booth equivalent of your chosen platform. There are also services that allow people to “pass the aux cord around,” so to speak, and people can take turns playing their favorite tunes.
It might be common sense at this point for anyone who’s ever held a Zoom party, but your gathering likely needs games. Putting games in your itinerary lets people know what to expect from the night. Not to mention prizes!
Games do a good job of helping wallflowers feel included too! Trivia nights, competitions, and song-and-dance presentations have a way of getting people out of their shells. Remember, the goal isn’t to turn your introverts into extroverts! It’s to bring people together.