Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Fun: Rick's Virtual Party

Virtual Party Ideas from Rick

In this time of coronavirus quarantine I really miss socializing with my friends! In earlier times I would spend several evenings a month at dinners arranged through meetup. My technical meetup groups have moved online, but the social meetups have been abandoned.

I've been spending a lot of time hosting Zoom meetings; I teach people how to use Zoom for meetings and one-and-one coaching/training/mentoring.

People don't meet for dinner for the food. People don't go to bars for the alcohol. They go for the social interaction.

So, how do we party on Zoom....?


One challenge is that only one person can talk at a time.

Another challenge is that Zoom allows many different devices to connect to a zoom meeting: cell phones, tablets, laptops and PCs! This makes it difficult to explain how the technology works on that specific device. For example, a PC or laptop allows party-goers to mute their microphones and press the space bar to talk. A cell phone user has to swipe to another screen to mute their microphone and does not have a push-to-talk option anywhere.

One benefit is getting everyone home safely. They're already there! The host has no need to set up designated drivers if the evening includes alcohol.

One Host

The first recommendation I found on the Internet is that one person (or household) should host the event. The host is the glue that binds everyone together.

Zoom will allow multiple co-hosts to allow the host to delegate some tasks such as allowing people into the party.

One Hour, more or less

The host should set the start time and an end time. Plan for the party to last about an hour; leave extra time before and after.

Suggestions for Guests

Give suggestions to guests for setting up their own local party space. Do this well in advance:
  • Advise guests to set up their party area. They need to be aware of the decor directly behind them, and pick up clutter.
  • Make sure lighting is bright enough so they don't look like an anonymous source on the news!
  • Music: TBD. Conflicting sounds can cause confusion in a video chat. Perhaps one guest can be a DJ and/or select a play list.
  • GET DRESSED! This is not about how it makes someone look; it's how it makes them feel and put them in a party mood.
    • Guys, shave and comb your hair (if you have any😎). 
    • Ladies: don't ignore makeup and jewelry.
    • Cocktail or restaurant attire is appropriate. If someone insists on loungeware then they should "go glam with a luxurious robes and lounge like Old Hollywood starlets."
    • Hats?
  • Provide a training time/place for guests who are unfamiliar with the technology chosen for the party. Rick already does this on his business blog ABCInc.pw.

Party Planning

Before planning an event, ask two questions then decide on a theme.
  • “Why are we gathering?” 
  • “Why is it important?”
Is it a beer tasting? A cocktail hour? A dinner party? Picking a theme will provide structure, as well as help those who are new to virtual hangouts navigate this new medium.

Ask your guests to participate in the theme of the party.

Having a clear intention for a party from the get-go will make the gathering less one-size-fits-all or bland. Set and post a tentative party agenda. Be flexible if the party goes in a different direction.
  • One of the first activities could be a show-and-tell:
    • Prepare a snack for yourself. What are you having?
    • Prepare a dinner...?
  • “Grabbing a drink” is easy to do in person, but video calls can make first-timers feel stiff. To guide guests before sign-in time, decide on what you’re drinking.
  • [Please suggest virtual party games in the comments below! For example, Good Housekeeping, Wirecutter and TimeOut have several suggestions. What is calling you?]
  • Themes: Movie Watching, Crafting, Cooking, or Knitting Party
  • Low Tech Online Party Activities
    • Introduce Your Pet - Everyone go around and introduce their pets to the group
    • Show and Tell - Show off one unexpected thing in your house
    • Truth or Dare - Lay it all on the line and tell the truth (or do a dare) with your online friends
  • One of Rick's friends will book an Improve performance for your party. Francine wrote, "You can book it through eventbrite.com, gigsalad.com or just contact me at zazuproductions@aol.com  ... Gigs have stopped, as  you know, and live theatre, and I'm helping some comedians and actors get some income!!"
Send online party invitations, and make the connection available on a static site if a guest accidentally deletes their email.

If the host sends "party packs" then the host should do this early enough to make sure they arrive in time.

Enjoy Yourself !

Remember, a virtual party is all about connecting with people we care about. Take a break and have some fun. The party will be a success if we share a laugh or a note of encouragement.

Let go, have a good time, and enjoy each other's company. You deserve it.

Close The Event Decisively

Finally, plan a final celebratory moment.

As the virtual party winds down people will be quietly disappearing from the screen; things just fizzle out. Prevent that by signaling the end with a 5- to 10-minute warning, then announce an exit line.

Want to Zoom? Click on the calendar below for each day's session:



Joke from Facebook: Has everyone picked out their outfits to wear in the living room?

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