Tips for a Successful Zoom Happy Hour

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Ok gang, so it looks like this “stuck at home thing” isn’t going away any time soon. The fatigue is real. You’ve worn out your Netflix binges. Maybe you started with noble intentions on Ozark, and moved through Office reruns, and now you’re slumming it with old A-TEAM seasons. The sourdough baking has gotten stale (no pun intended….OK pun definitely intended).

Let’s face it. You miss people. You miss connection…and you miss FUN!

DO NOT FRET! ALL IS NOT LOST! Fun is still possible! We at Feet First believe that FUN is nutrition for the soul just as necessary as B6, or B12, or any of the B’s! Here, we’re drawing on our extensive experience in both virtual and “real world” events to offer some ideas on how to successfully connect with others in our strange new world.

This blog installment is all about VIRTUAL HAPPY HOUR!

Just like the way you used to – except at home – and through a screen. OK, so it might not be EXACTLY like an old-fashioned Happy Hour. But it’s amazing how some semblance of our previous forms of socializing can be emotionally rewarding. A zoom sesh, a glass of wine, and your best looking dish to show off is all you need.

Here are some ideas to bring creativity, connection, and enjoyment to your home in shelter experience:

1. THEME IT WITH AN EXOTIC LOCATION

Since travel is limited for now, fake virtual travel seems to be the best we can do to satisfy our slumbering adventurous nature. Why not tell your Zoom attendees that this week’s Happy Hour will be in France? Just add some accordion music and encourage everyone to include a virtual background – some folks might be in a Parisian alley while others might be in the French countryside – while EVERYONE enjoys a baguette and some brie. Berets are totally optional, but highly encouraged.

2. HORS D’OEUVRES, ANYONE…?

You might not have waiters walking around your house with trays, but why not have everyone on the Zoom call attempt the same dish?! You can share the ingredients and a standard recipe ahead of time. But the trick is to keep it simple! Make bruschetta. Or Guacamole. Or Nachos! Something quick to make and easy to eat while you have a cocktail and schmooze afterward! You can also challenge each person to include a mystery ingredient, something that no one else would have included. If the conversation lulls, you can spice it up by voting for the best mystery ingredient!

3. WINE TASTING – OR A MIXOLOGY CHALLENGE!

Have everyone buy the same three bottles of wine and you can host your own tasting… smell the bouquets, taste and compare.  If you’re feeling more adventurous (or more boozy!), try different mixed cocktails.  Choose a base liquor (It’s VODKA NIGHT!), and challenge everyone to include creative Liqueurs (Amaretto, Triple Sec, Vermouth, etc.) – and you can get crazy with Mixers (juices, seltzer, bitters…). You may not know much about bartending, but after trying a few drinks, who cares?!

4. GAMETIME

The modern world of digital games is gigantic, innovative, and maybe intimidating. We’ll cover those in a later blog, but for now, think of easy games that translate to your zoom or facetime like Scattegories, Balderdash, or for more digital party game fun– try Jackbox Games, or the House Party App where you can virtually play games like Heads Up, Trivia, or a Pictionary like game called Quick Draw. There’s a lot out there, and as we here at Feet First know, competition can really drive bonding, play, and fun.

5.GUSSIED UP

Let’s face it. Most of us have been wearing that same pair of sweatpants a little longer than we should have. Some of us haven’t worn pants at all. It’s fascinating how good it can feel to occasionally get dressed up! Whether it’s a themed costume – Toga, Beret (See idea #2 above) or a shirt and tie, or quite frankly just wearing jeans again, it feels good sometimes to care about our appearance. Finally a chance to shave, get the makeup dialed in, use that hair product! Taking pride in our appearance leads to the good feels, and we like the good feels.

So these are just a few ideas on ways to bring some fun and pizazz to your happy hour. While we’re at it, let’s help out by also sharing a couple things to avoid in Zoom Happy Hours.

THREE THINGS NOT TO DO:

1. ZOOM DANCE PARTIES

We hate to be the bearers of bad news – but Zoom Dance Parties don’t work! Everyone’s watching each other, there’s no shared energy of dance, and probably not great space in your domicile. We wish it would work, but we’ve been to a few ZOOM dance parties, and they are AWKWARD. Like a 7th grade dance, but worse. Maybe a lesson/tutorial instead?

2. DON’T WING IT

Please don’t wait until the last second to try your first Zoom call ever! To the inexperienced individual, this could take a while, learning the difference between the app, browser, tablet, laptop, phone, audio and video, and if your laptop can even do a virtual background. It can waste time and start things off with a technologically challenged plop. So make sure you practice first!

3. DON’T INVITE TOO MANY PEOPLE

In the virtual world, LESS IS MORE! Keep it to a few close friends or couples. Don’t have a large group of people that generally don’t know each other. It works for side mingling at a real party, but in a Zoom chat only one conversation can really happen at a time, and everyone else watches. If it’s your birthday you’re going to be having all conversations go through you: ”Martha, Bob also likes Ketchup”.. you get the idea. Suggestion: Do several mini zoom meetings on your birthday to get quality time with your different friends.

Hopefully this helped spark your brain on the little things you can do to add fun and normalcy to an unprecedented situation.

During a time like this, remember there are Covid Silver Linings! If your best friend moved across the country years ago and you’ve lost touch, you can have happy hour together again. It’s a great time to spend time with family across the country (or the world!) – but don’t forget the two elements that bring us inherent joy: CONNECTIONS with other humans, and FUN!

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