A night of virtual drinks has become the best solution to staying in touch with friends and colleagues. Friday night happy hours are a common ritual in most offices around the globe, and the work from home movement forced us to ditch that weekly ritual of meeting at bars or boardrooms, to switch to the virtual environment.
Technology has meant that we haven’t had to completely throw the chance of mixing with working colleagues completely out the window. Thanks to any number of video chatting apps you can still enjoy a night of virtual drinks and trade gossip and chat with friends to solve some of life’s greater mysteries.
It’s time to raise a glass as the Calvin Ayre team give you the 411 on putting together a memorable digital happy hour in 2020.
Pick a platform
We’re spoiled for choice in 2020 when it comes to social networking apps. Facetime, Skype, Google Hangouts, Teams and of course Zoom. The last two have risen to prominence in 2020, with Zoom becoming a household name thanks to celebrity drop-ins. When it comes to technology, you are as strong as your weakest link. Some people are still low tech and its important to pick a platform that’s easy to use and accessible to everyone in the group. Zoom is a great choice for large gatherings as the grid view allows you to see everyone on screen at once.
Keep It Small
Less is more when it comes to a virtual gathering, you simply need for everyone to have some skin in the game. Any more than 10 people and the conversation start to become chaos, with some people naturally on the sidelines looking in. If you have more than 10 people considering appointing someone as the moderator to keep the conversation flowing.
Not everyone will have a home bar set-up, so find a place in the house that you are comfortable in. Make sure that the lighting is bright enough for everyone to see you and there’s no ambient background noise. Loud neighbours, kids in the street and barking pets can all mess with your virtual drinks chi. Kitchen tables and the patios are great locations, all you need is a stable surface to set up your phone or computer.
While having the chance to work from home can mean you sit through meetings in your sweat pants, step it up a notch for virtual drinks. Making the effort to dress up will give you a sense of normalcy. While it’s a small thing, it can make the world of difference for your mental health if you have had an extended stint of social distancing from friends and colleagues.
Be a Good Listener
Everyone will want their five minutes in the spotlight, especially at larger virtual happy hours. You have to come into any virtual meeting knowing that only one person can speak at a time, be prepared to listen to a lot of conversation.
Encourage everyone to bring a drink.
There’s something nicely communal about drinking together, even if you’re only doing it remotely. And having an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage in hand will help everyone feel more relaxed.
Keep the conversation light
If you’re having virtual drinks with new people for the first time, or it’s a Friday night with friends or colleagues, you want to keep the conversation light. Plan your conversations if you happen to be the moderator and come prepared with a few ice breakers for anyone new in the group.
Top Tips for Your Video Calls
Invest in a good set of headphones.
Practice the call first.
Keep your phone still, if you have a solid surface you can rest your device on even better.
Except things to go wrong, technology can always break down when you least expect it.
Remember you’re on a video call, even if you are not talking people can still see you.