Reaching Out - Including Guests Who are Far Away
In a perfect world everyone you love would be right where you are. Unfortunately, this often isn't the case. But just because some of your favorite people are far away doesn't mean they can't be included in important celebrations. Here are a few ideas to help make sure everyone gets to be involved in your next big event.
Be Strategic: Many of us spend far more time than we'd like trapped in virtual meetings. Keep Zoom fatigue in mind when approaching your virtual guests. Sure, you could just aim your webcam at your party and let your friend from three states away watch, but what fun is that? Instead, focus in on what would make your virtual friends feel more included. Can they join in on a theme by dressing up or eating similar food? Would they like the floor for a few minutes to say a few words? Are they really only interested in seeing the reaction to the gift they sent? Find out what it is your guests want and make those aspects of the night a priority.
Check in With Your Guests: Is everyone you've invited comfortable with technology? If not, check in with them beforehand and make sure they know how to access your party. You may want to let your guest choose which app or software to use to reduce the chance of technological mishaps.
Choose a "Main Event": Is there a particular event during your party where you can draw everyone together? Giving a toast, blowing out birthday candles, or touring a new home? Use this event as a centerpiece for the event and plan it at a certain time. That way remote guests can log on for a distinct period rather than sitting through the hour of other people socializing beforehand.
Send a Little Something: Make your remote guests feel like they're part of the party (because ideally that's exactly what they are) by sending them a little something beforehand. A bottle of wine and a set of unbreakable glasses is the perfect way to include someone in a dinner party. Maybe a few cookies decorated with your party's theme, or a few favors to enjoy and share. A physical piece of a virtual event helps bridge the gap and bring everyone closer together.
Save Some Time for One on One: It's easy to get face time with everyone who is at your party in person, but if someone is watching on a screen it can be a little more difficult. Make a point to spend some one on one time with your virtual guests while the party is going on. Check back in with them after the event to see what they thought and if they had any technical issues. If all has gone well, you can even spend this time to start planning your next virtual event.