Sure, virtual events have been around for a long time. But no one could have expected the extent that they would be used - to the point that where we are now hosting baby showers online. Zoku Team Members, Brian and Olga, share their experiences in this brave new world of virtual events.
Olga: I just want to start by saying congratulations on your upcoming baby girl, she should be here soon. July, right?
Brian: Thanks! Yeah, I'm really excited, but kind of nervous too. I was never a baby person. I think I've held a baby two times in my entire life...
Olga: Don’t worry! I don't think there's one couple out there that basically wakes up and says, okay, we got this, we know everything. It's a learning curve. You will learn when the baby comes. You will have plenty of time too, since you won't be able to go anywhere for awhile. Pretty similar to this quarantine period.
Brian: Haha, yes! Now that people are spending more time indoors, we'll have to be creative with family activities. That’s why I liked your recent blog post so much.
Olga: Thank you! Which activity did you like?
Brian: I actually tried watching all of the Harry Potter movies for the first time with my sister.
Olga: Movie night! Nice!
Brian: And then we immediately found out which houses we were from. I found out that I’m a Ravenclaw and so is my wife and sister.
Olga: Must be hereditary. Good to know.
Brian: What are you?
Brian: Nice! Gryffindor and Ravenclaw get along right?
Olga: Of course!
Brian: That’s a relief.
Olga: Anyway back to the subject of home activities. You had a remote baby shower, right? How did that go?
Brian: Well, to be honest it was harder than I expected. Even though we broke it up into three phases: My Mom’s family, Dad’s Family, and friends, it was still hard to manage. At one point there were twenty people staring at us at one time and it was hard to focus on one person. I felt bad just taking turns talking with people for ten seconds even though we haven’t talked in ten years! On the other hand, there were a lot of people who lived far away who would have had a hard time joining us if we didn't do it remotely. So I think if done right, remote events can be very meaningful.
Olga: Any suggestions for other people planning remote events? Any things to avoid?
Brian: I think splitting the event into shorter periods with fewer people is the way to go. In other words, schedule ten minute chats with three people at a time. This way you can have more intimate conversations. But make sure you don’t schedule these back to back. There’s always going to be people “arriving” early and late.
Olga: And there’s always going to be technical difficulties, right?
Olga: That sounds nice. But what if it isn’t practical to have smaller groups, do you have any suggestions for larger groups?
Brian: For larger groups, I would recommend preparing games or activities - something everyone can do together. Especially for remote baby showers I think watching people open presents can be quite boring for people watching. You have to remember that at a live event people can socialize and talk amongst themselves while they watch you open presents. At a remote event this is almost impossible to do without being rude. If you have a private conversation it is going to distract everyone. So if there is a game people can play together at least everyone has something fun to focus on. Olga, I know you have some experience with orchestrating activities at live events, right?
Olga: Yes, actually we had a dinner party recently where we cooked our meals together with three other couples. We really missed socializing like the good ole times which is hard when you can’t eat the same food or drinks. So that’s why we decided to prepare the same ingredients so we could cook together and then feel a sense of closeness since we were cooking and eating the same thing.
Brian: Now, that’s actually pretty cool because you were doing something that you wouldn’t be able to do if you met in person.
Olga: How so?
Brian: Well normally at parties you don’t have access to four kitchens. If you were meeting in person some people would be stuck watching. But in this case everyone can be a chef and there can never be too many chefs in the kitchen!
Olga: That is true, also it is a good way to learn if you aren’t so kitchen-savvy.
Brian: That’s so true. Hey what do you think about trying this with our Ice Cream Maker?
Olga: An ice cream recipe party! That sounds like fun. Maybe we could choose some recipes that people share on social media and then make them live so that anyone with an ice cream maker can participate.
Brian: Hmm, That’s an idea we should run by our customers!
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