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How to Host the Perfect Virtual Happy Hour

  • The last two years have been a blur of terrifying news and overwhelming information about the new coronavirus. And, while I understand that staying inside is the best way to protect yourself and others. 

    Many restaurants and bars are closed, and social gatherings with friends and family are on hold, as people focus on social distancing and self-isolation in an attempt to flatten the curve of the coronavirus. Many people crave connections now more than ever, and it seems like a terrible time to have to cancel our happy hour and dinner plans with friends and colleagues.

    To that end, virtual happy hours have seen an incredible surge as more and more people turn to options like Zoom to meet up with friends in novel ways. There are numerous digital communication tools available, ranging from FaceTime to Skype. You can send out a meeting request and call it "virtual happy hour," but it takes a lot more planning to make it a success.

    1. The moderator of the happy hour, like any good host, sets the tone. Greet everyone and have a central theme or agenda for how the event will run." Take your participants on a journey and leave them with something to think about when they're done.

    2. Consider how many people you want to invite to your virtual happy hour. While you don't need to consider social distancing as much as you would with an in-person meet-up, you still want a small enough group for everyone to get some screen time. Consider the date, time, and purpose of your virtual gathering.

    3. The key to hosting a virtual happy hour is to have one person act as the host, just as if you were in the person's home. The host can send everyone an itinerary or virtual menu of what will happen during the happy hour. The host can seamlessly guide the attendees through the evening while also creating a fun atmosphere.

    4. Send out your virtual happy hour event materials to ensure that everyone has a chance to participate. You can keep the meeting moving and running smoothly by giving people time to prepare for what's coming up. This is especially important if there are any planned activities or games. You may be required to send specific equipment for a particular occasion activity, as well as food and drinks, for a tasting experience.