Whether you’re having a cozy chat with your far-flung besties, or plan on dropping in to a video chatroom filled with dozens of strangers, here’s what to know about having a successful virtual happy hour.
KEEP IT SMALL
“Too many people in a Google Hangout and it just becomes chaos,” said Natalie Lynch, a co-host of the YouTube show, Natalie and Tara Try Stuff. “More than eight to 10 people and conversations can’t really happen without leaving people outside looking in.”
If more than 10 people are attending your virtual happy hour, consider appointing a moderator to help the conversation run smoothly.
GET DOLLED UP
It helps to dress up, said Jessica Lawlor, who applies makeup and puts on a cute sweater for her virtual happy hour with three friends. She said the act of getting ready gave her a sense of normalcy.
Make sure the lighting is bright enough so others can see you, and keep ambient sound to a minimum. Barking dogs and shrieking children can affect the vibe.
GO FOR THE GRID
Lawlor chose Zoom to host her virtual happy hour. She recommends using the grid view in any teleconferencing software, as it will let you see everyone at once in equal-size boxes.
Because Zoom outlines the person speaking (or making noise), it became a helpful visual cue to let others know that someone was about to speak, which minimised people talking over one another.
BE A GOOD LISTENER
Let everyone participate.
KEEP THE CONVERSATION LIGHT
As chief experience officer of the dinner club, Fat, Drunk and Fancy, Kim DiGiovanni tried to introduce as much levity as possible while hosting her virtual happy hour.
END ON A HIGH NOTE
Keep the gathering short and sweet, then make plans to do it again. It’s a courtesy to include a set end time, but as with in-person happy hours, people may continue gabbing if they’re having fun.
By Anna Goldfarb © The New York Times