Miss dinner with friends and family? Who says you have to! With Easter coming up this weekend, we all may be longing for a little bit of family/friend time. Take advantage of Google Hangouts, Skype, FaceTime, What’s App or Zoom to see those faces you have been missing with a virtual gathering.
Digital drinks, dinner and games can be enjoyed over a screen. This week we celebrated the birthday of my sister who lives in New York with a virtual Skype Birthday party and it was a wonderful get together.
Here are some tips on hosting a virtual party:
Decide on a platform. Below are some free options for group video chats.
Skype Group Video Chat makes it easy for up to 50 people to meet all at once. With group screen sharing, you can present slides, pictures, video recordings and more. You can also record your screen to remember the important moments. Netflix Movie night anyone?
Group FaceTime on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
You can start a Group FaceTime with up to 32 people. The tile of the person speaking gets larger automatically, so you’ll never lose track of the conversation.
You can make a group call with up to 4 people using an iPhone and Android versions of the app.
Zoom has various pricing plans, but the free version allows for up to 100 participants. The host will need an account, but all others will not need a Zoom account to join a chat. If invitees are new to Zoom, when they click the meeting link from you, they will be prompted to either download or launch Zoom.
Zoom allows you to simultaneous screen share photos, presentations or movies. The one caveat, there is a 40 min limit on group meetings with the free account.
Google Hangouts allows for a free group video call with up to 10 people.
Connect with friends or family across Android, or iOS phones or on a computer.
Anyone invited to join the video call must have a Google Account; however, the invitees will not need to download anything to join the call.
Once you decide what platform you will use for your party, schedule a call and copy/save the meeting link for others to join.
Send out an Evite. I love Paperless Post for sending free invitations.
Include the meeting time (specify if it’s EST, MST, PST etc. if guests are in various time zones), the meeting link that was created when you scheduled the meeting, as well as the party theme and any specifics on what people should prepare to drink or eat.
Be sure to test out the service you are using for your video call in advance so you are familiar and can help anyone with technical difficulties.
Enjoy your virtual party! Plan a fun game, a conversation or activity to keep the party going. Depending on how many people are on the call, as the host, you may need to moderate the chat.