Let's face it: virtual happy hours can be super awkward. When Preciate first went completely remote at the start of the pandemic, we had a couple virtual get togethers that were lackluster at best. And it wasn't because we don't get along or have a good company culture. It was simply because those online meeting tools weren't designed to help people connect and build relationships while socializing virtually.
Many companies know the importance of having strong workplace relationships when it comes to employee engagement, performance, and retention. At the same time, many companies have historically been able to encourage relationship building by hosting in-person events. Now that in-person socialization is on pause, business leaders are realizing that they need alternative solutions - today and moving forward.
To host an awesome online team building event like a virtual happy hour, there are some core components that everyone should consider including in their virtual events. To learn more about those components and the platform that enables them, keep on reading!
1. Create an atmosphere that fits the occasion.
When you first begin planning your virtual happy hour, consider the people who will be attending the event. What kind of atmosphere would make them most impressed and feel most comfortable? Is there a theme you know they would love?
With Preciate Social, you can create an atmosphere that fits any occasion. You get to choose a name and description of the event, and then pick a music playlist and 3D background. With six 3D backgrounds and nine music playlists, there are dozens of combinations to create the perfect virtual event for your people.
2. Encourage mingling.
One of the hardest things to do on those meetings platforms is mingle with others. Yet it is one of the most fun and most important aspects of team building events like happy hours. Mingling is what allows attendees to get to know people who they may not interact with frequently. This is especially helpful for new employees who haven't yet had a chance to develop strong relationships at work.
Preciate Social inherently encourages mingling similar to a real-life mixer. Each person can move around the room and have different conversations throughout the duration of the event. Using the map, it's easy to see where other groups are located and hover over individuals to see their names.
3. Say some genuine words in a toast.
Though it can be somewhat nerve-wracking, making a toast is a great opportunity to express thoughtful sentiments with a group. It can be helpful to bring some prepared thoughts on a sticky note to avoid missing anything important.
Overall, toasts can really add to events like virtual happy hours because they are another time you can demonstrate that more thought went into this than the average daily meeting. It's also always nice to share positive, uplifting messages with others. That's why Preciate Social has a "Make a Toast" feature that anyone can use to make a toast to the rest of the group.
4. Get conversation flowing with icebreakers.
Jumpstarting conversation can be a challenge at any social event, and the nature of virtual events seems to make it even more difficult. Luckily, there are solutions out there such as icebreakers. Icebreakers are a tried and true way to break through the awkwardness and start some interesting conversations.
Though you can always come up with your own icebreaker activities and questions, Preciate Social provides over 20 icebreaker questions from three different categories. With this feature, you can host a virtual happy hour without ever having to prepare conversation starters.
5. Make it special with a live performance.
This thrill of live performances is undeniable, and it has been missed by many during this time of social distancing. But what if you could bring a live performer to a virtual event?
With the performance feature, Preciate Social allows you to do just that. Whether it's a jazz musician, a folk singer, or a comedian, anyone can perform to a group of people using Preciate Social. Not only is this great for the attendees who get to enjoy a live performance, but the performer can see the crowd reacting and feed off of its energy.
Virtual happy hours have huge potential to be fun and engaging; people just need to start using the right platforms to host them on. Tools created for meetings and conferences aren't going to cut it anymore.
While we won't be social distancing forever, there's no doubt that work has changed forever. More companies have remote policies that will last far beyond this time, and they will continue to need solutions for virtual socializing and relationship-building. As those needs develop, Preciate will continue to grow and evolve, creating more ways to build relationships no matter where your people are located.