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Three Tips To Prep For Virtual Visits

Virtual conference call


I’m embarrassed to tell you that it took a pandemic for me realize time is TOO SHORT not to reach out to family and friends more. All this cloistering has afforded me a chance to take stock.

No longer restricted to snail mail, we now have access to instant gratification with technology to meet and visit in a borderless world.

David and I recently hosted our first virtual dinner party. Right off the bat we realized the greater possibilities to enjoy time with friends and family anywhere since distance is no longer an obstacle.

Since then, I’ve enjoyed a book club discussion and virtual walks with friends, too, and learned several things about successful distance visiting.

Here are three tips to help make your virtual gathering a success:

  1. Make a “thing” about reaching out to and inviting your guests.

We started with David’s brother and sister-in-law in Chicago. And since I use Zoom conferencing regularly, it was easy to set up the time and send the link.

The night of our virtual dinner, there was lots of screen sharing of our plated dishes—not to mention menu bragging. We managed to chat for two hours!

Other dinner party ideas include:

  • Invite guests to create the same dishes and see how they vary from cook to cook.
  • Make theme a pantry party, and see what people create from the confines of their inventory at home.
  • Each diner can have a meal delivered from their favorite restaurant and share about their dish and the restaurant.

And virtual, themed party ideas include:

  • Though there are many portals allowing people to play games virtually, I like the idea of trying a more “old fashioned” option such as charades. There is something charming and creative about melding the new tech with olden games that involve virtual face-to-face interaction.
  • Watch a movie “together” at the same time on a streaming portal so you can offer commentary to each other as you watch.
  • Select a book or article as a launching point for meeting for discussion.
  1. Practice with your tech beforehand.
  • The virtual world awaits you with numerous options! Whether it’s a virtual dinner party or a meetup for coffee or cocktails, there are a number of platform options including Skype, Facebook Messenger, Facetime (Apple), WhatsApp, or Zoom.
  • Sign in 15 minutes early and encourage attendees to do log in a little early, too. Try to get technical glitches out of the way before the event officially begins. And then be flexible and prepared for snafus just in case.

Determine which device on your end works best. We used a laptop for our first party but weren’t as happy with the quality of our camera. Next time we used our android phone, which has a better camera. The size of the screen was offset by the higher quality of the image.

  1. Take the lead and make the invitation. Borders don’t exist!

I’ve started reaching out to family and friends I don’t see but once every few years (or more). I’ll also be making it a point to reach out to people who live nearby as well. As I mentioned, this is part a celebration of modern tech and part a personal reevaluation of the value of connection.

The point is that you can (virtually) go anywhere. Last week we were with our family in Chicago, and this week we’ll share a meal with our niece in Arizona and then our daughter and her boyfriend in Peru.

Start creating the list of people in your life you’d like to see virtually. Recognize the virtual thing won’t be everyone’s “thing,” but your invitation will serve as a message that you value them just the same.  

And for those who do take you up on the offer, you’ll have a memory to share later. Plus, the planning gives everyone an adventure to anticipate.

 Thanks for reading and please check out the wearable wisdom items for something to inspire you to live a life of well-being. 

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