Four happy people, standing, laughing and having a party while video chatting with others using a tabletA virtual social gathering, if you haven’t been to one already, is as close to the real thing but instead, is hosted online using a video conferencing platform. Use the following tips and advice to help you get set up for fun events within your company, circle of friends or family gatherings. All it takes is a couple of invitations, a few mouse clicks and the use of optimized features for you to jump onto a call and start socializing with anyone from anywhere at any time!

Here are a few questions to help you get planning:

1. Who are you interacting with?

Establish who you want to show up! If it’s work-related, get a good handle on who and from which departments you want to invite. If it’s fun and family oriented, get clear on who you want to spend time with.

2. What platform do you need?

Choose a video conferencing platform that is:

User friendly and intuitive
Browser-based (zero downloads or equipment required!)
Full of features to help moderate, collaborate and inspire communication

3. What is your format?

A virtual social gathering can be hosted by one person or many. Do you want a webinar style, a more casual “drop-in” approach or something clean and professional? This comes down to the content and conversation of your virtual social gathering (more on that below). Some quick thoughts to consider:

Are you looking for 1:1 or group conversation?
How many people are attending?
How many moderators are required?

4. How many hosts do you need?

Having a host helps keep the flow of the gathering in check. Depending on the size, consider having at least two people keeping tabs on how everything fits into place. One host should be forward-facing while the other moderates questions, introductions, tech, lighting, etc.

The host who is leading should be comfortable looking straight into the camera, can speak unscripted and maybe crack a few jokes!

5. What activities are you doing?

Woman at home in stylish kitchen video chatting others during a virtual dinner party while preparing a roasted chicken dinnerIf you’re gathering people from your work team, make sure you have an idea of how the meeting will flow. If it’s casual, keep a few conversation prompts on hand or read up on what’s making headlines. If it’s more formal, but still fun, double check everyone knows what to bring or prepare for in advance.

Even if it’s as simple as getting together to have a laugh with some friends or family, just ensure everyone is on the same page. Include a list of what people need to have done beforehand in the invitation and send out a follow up email.

6. Where are you hosting?

Whether from the office or home, think about where you want to set up:

  • A bare wall with little to no distraction
  • A green screen
  • A virtual background filter

You can even step outside for more natural light and outdoorsy vibe or pull up a room divider behind you. Drapes or a bedsheet work great too!

7. When and where will it take place?

Be aware that participants might be in different time zones. Video conferencing software that comes with a time zone scheduler helps you plan out the best time and date for all participants.

Also, the invites and reminders feature includes all the important info required for joining the video chat including login info, time, date and other details.

So you have the basics laid down! But now you want to know how to connect. What are some ways to inject a bit more fun into your daily routine? Here are a few creative ideas to get you started:

1. Unconventional Events

Gather with your group to celebrate some of the smaller, lesser known days and festivals. Remember to celebrate accordingly:

  • Star Wars Day, May 4th
  • Fried Clam Day, July 3rd
  • Spaghetti Day, Jan 4th
  • Poetry Day, Oct 1st,
  • Pink Day, June 23rd

2. Online Game Night

Adapt your favorite in-person games and bring them online to enjoy with colleagues, friends and family. Trivia is always a hit and Bingo just requires a predetermined play card for every player. Use screen sharing to bring participants onto one screen if you want to try a web game like poker, Balderdash, Uno and more.

3. Take A Course Together

There are so many options for online education. Level up a skill at work or try your hand at something new you’ve always wanted to pursue like writing a novel, cooking a new cuisine or learning how to act. Gather a few like-minded people and form a study group. Decide if you want to meet up online after class to debrief and integrate or if you want to actually do the course work together in real-time as a study group.

Happy couple celebrating the holidays at home with decorations in the background, and using a tablet to video chat with others4. Remote Dinner Party

With a little coordination, you can get together with loved ones to make it “feel” like you’re all dining together. Decide on a theme for your dinner party, and collectively choose out some recipes everyone can agree on. Shop for what you need, and on the day of the event, you can video chat while you’re preparing and cooking or you can skip that and go straight to eating and enjoying together.

5. Virtual Dance Party

Whether for an occasion at work or for something to celebrate with friends and family, music and movement is always a fun way to blow off a little steam. Host a 90s throwback with friends or plan an end of the year party with your work team. Best outfit or best original dance move gets a prize!

6. Virtual Coffee Dates

Perfect for mentorship, catching up with a small group of colleagues or conducting a 1:1, a virtual coffee is just that – meeting up online with a coffee, tea, or whatever beverage you fancy! Decide whether you want to keep it loose and informal or if you want to stick to an agenda.

With FreeConference.com, you can make the most out of hosting a virtual social gathering. Enjoy spending some downtime and making new memories with coworkers, friends or family in an online setting that can still make you laugh. Use features like the Time Zone Scheduler, Screen Sharing, and Speaker and Gallery Views to make it almost feel like you’re hanging out in person. Plus, with zero-download, browser-based technology that requires zero equipment, gathering online couldn’t be easier.

Sign up today, it’s free!

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