1. Research Your Audience
Whilst it’s tempting to start with the creative stuff it’s important to begin by carrying out some research to understand your audience. Take time to discover what everyone is interested in. Most offices employ a wide range of people with different tastes so think about what connects them so you can curate a Christmas party that appeals.
And don’t forget to think about the practicals too such as what’s the best time to host the event to ensure everyone can attend and whether you want people to have access to the event once it’s over.
2. Create A Plan
Every event needs precise planning and virtual Christmas parties are no different. As everything is streamed live, you need to feel confident that it will go off without a hitch.
For virtual events think about what kind of experience you hope to offer. For Christmas it’s obviously less about educational content and more about celebrating staff in an engaging uplifting manner but maybe you want to combine a few speeches or incorporate an award show to recognise how hard staff have worked, alongside some lighter entertainment.
3. Pick A Format
A virtual event comes in various forms so once you know the type of content you’d like then it’s time to start thinking about the structure and what sort of format will work. Taking our Virtual Christmas Parties as an example, we knew we wanted a hybrid event that combines the best of a real event (food, drink and atmosphere) with the exciting opportunities that technology could offer (bringing everyone together in the virtual world with a choice of entertainment that everyone could watch and participate in at the same time).
4. Choose The Right Time
Just because most people are working from home don’t just assume everyone is available, especially in the evening. Accommodating everyone can be difficult so give plenty of notice and if you’re an international company take time zones into account. If it doesn’t look possible to have absolutely everyone participating at the same time then consider multiple sessions or making the event available to be watched at a later date.
5. Encourage Engagement
If you’re going to stand any chance of making the experience feel like a party you’re going to need engagement. Involve everyone right from the start. Remember the research stage? This is a great opportunity to build some excitement. Involve everyone with polls, surveys and Q&As. Choose an entertainment act which can be personalised to your brand and let everyone ask live questions or participate in other ways. In our Virtual Christmas Party packages we’ve included acts such as mind readers, singers who can perform previously submitted songs, drag queen bingo, cocktail making workshops, magic tuition, live caricatures of guests. There’s no shortage of ways to get engaged and make the event entertaining.
6. Be Innovative
Virtual quizzes had a novelty factor back in March but the way this year has dragged on, that feels like a lifetime ago. Use the Christmas party as a chance to do something you haven’t done before. Find an activity that makes your party stand out and gets people excited. What about choosing one of our popular presenters like Yotam Ottolenghi, Greg Davies or Louis Theroux to bring a bit of celebrity glamour to your celebrations?
For our bespoke virtual Christmas parties we’ve created a range of unique party experiences that guests experience by entering a multitude of online realms. Groups of colleagues can enter different virtual rooms to throw a dice in the casino, have a laugh in the comedy club, learn a new skill at a workshop or be dazzled at the cabaret.
7. Combine The Best Of Live
There’s a special thing that happens in live events and it’s the atmosphere. It can be hard to really get into the party swing if you’re sitting at home in your PJs so encourage everyone to dress up and move about. Most of us will have already spent the day sitting at a screen so make your event a hybrid event with an activity to partake in at home.
Can you really call it a party without food and drink? We don’t think so. That’s why our Virtual Christmas Parties include a box that gets delivered to the homes of everyone employee, filled with cocktails and grazing party food to nibble on during the festivities. We’ve also included a party hat that even the most grinch-like of guests has to wear, a Christmas cracker and even a scented candle to create an atmosphere.
8. Prepare For Tech Troubles
We’ll let you into a secret; things go wrong at events. It just usually happens behind-the-scenes and your event planner seamlessly smooths them away before anyone notices. With virtual events it’s not so easy. Remember that not all your guests are tech savvy. Our party plan includes a set of FAQs and set of instructions to help ensure everyone knows how to login and how to ask for help if needed.
And don’t forget, just like in-person events, virtual events should be as inclusive and accessible as possible.