How To Make the Best (Virtual) Happy Hours

by Julie Tereshchuk on April 2, 2020 in Lifestyle,
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Recently, virtual Happy Hours have become wildly popular. But how can you make sure you get the most out of them and also practice good online etiquette?

We asked two Austin-based experts what tips we should all keep in mind. Here are their eight best. Cheers, everyone!

Austin-based Sierra Bailey is an avid user of Zoom for online meetings of all types. Courtesy photo

First up, Sierra Bailey, a business strategist who helps talented, tiny business owners have the business they really want, well past the start-up phase. Sierra has been running monthly Zoom meetings for the past year.

1. When talking to the group, look into the iris of the camera as it will engage the group more. Also, when others are speaking, don’t look away or be talking to someone in the room with you. It will make your virtual group feel ignored.

2. If you’re in a noisy place, mute yourself—unless you’re speaking, naturally—as the background noise will make it hard for everyone to hear each other.

3. If you have to step away from the camera, or are using your phone and need to walk around with it, click off your camera and mute yourself so as not to distract everyone else.

“Turn your camera on. People want to see your face.” ~ Cindy Brummer

4. If you notice that the extroverts dominate the conversation, try and draw in an introvert who is too shy to jump into the conversation by specifically calling on them with an easy question, like a “Hey Karen, how have you been?”

5. Don’t be afraid of kids, pets and partners! If they come up to you, introduce them to the group as you would in real life. If they need your attention for more than a second, mute and/or hide your camera.

Now let’s hear from Cindy Brummer, the owner of Standard Beagle, an Austin-based user experience design and development agency. While Cindy’s days are spent in virtual business meetings, her tips are equally valid for our online social lives.

CIndy Brummer, owner of Standard Beagle, a user experience design and development agency in Austin.
Courtesy photo

6. Choose your background carefully and so that it reflects you at your best. I would be especially careful if people can walk behind you. At best it can be distracting. At worst, your spouse doesn’t realize you’re using your camera and… embarrassing moment ensues.

7. Wait your turn to speak. There’s nothing worse than people talking over one another. The delay in video means you won’t be heard if you speak on top of another person. In Zoom, consider using the chat feature with the host or raise your hand.

8. Turn your camera on. People want to see your face.

Cover photo Justin Aikin on Unsplash

Julie Tereshchuk, the Editor-in-Chief of Texas Lifestyle Magazine, is discovering the joy (and pitfalls) of interacting with friends and family far and wide in online breakfasts, lunches, brunches, happy hours and dinners.