How to celebrate the holidays with clients in 2020

Face to face is off the table for 2020 but let's not become 'The Grinch That Stole Christmas' just yet

How to celebrate the holidays with clients in 2020
Bryce Sanders

Face facts. Everyone is waiting for 2020 to end. Christmas is coming first. It’s been said it’s the most decorated holiday of the year. If you find the lines blur between friends and clients, you probably throw an annual holiday party. Face to face is off the table for 2020. But let’s not become “The Grinch That Stole Christmas” just yet.

How to organize your Zoom Christmas party
Let’s start by considering Christmas parties as a gathering of friends. Let’s assume client confidentiality isn’t an issue because you are gathering friends from your different social silos.

Here’s how you might go about it:

Get a paid Zoom membership. You will want to choose the length of your party. You will want to use extra features

Learn about Zoom features. Specifically screen sharing, chat features, muting, backgrounds and breakout rooms.

Alert your friends. You are thinking about this alternative form of party. Are they familiar with Zoom? Do they know how to use the features you just learned about? Sound them out. You don’t want people to feel uncomfortable.

Schedule your Zoom call. I would plan a length of an hour, but book a longer period in case it develops a life of it’s own.

Invite your friends. You’ve gotten buy in. Send out your invitations. I would probably use e-mail, but an evite could do the job. You need to include the Zoom link and password details if required.  Suggest they dress up. Mention backgrounds.

Send at least one reminder. Ideally you want them to learn the functionality you explored. Chatting.  Breakout rooms.

Setup your own background. I’m thinking your own living room or your decorated tree.

Lineup your friend who sings professionally. The idea will be they will perform a couple of songs.  One at a time.  15 minute intervals.  You will mute everyone else when they sing.

It’s your party
The day has arrived. You are dressed. I would send one more reminder with the link.

Greet your guests. Greet people as they arrive. Thank them for coming. Introduce them around.  Explain gallery view. This should give nice boxes. If you have more guests signed in, tell them to swipe to see them.

Explain breakout rooms. Assuming you have booked a couple, let them know they can “leave the party” to chat among themselves. They message you using the chat feature. You send them into a breakout room. (I need to learn more about this myself.)

Keep the conversation going. Draw people out. It’s what you do at your regular parties. Bear in mind when someone speaks, they have the floor. Their box gets a green outline. When someone else starts speaking, the box (and focus) shifts to them.

Stop the party. It’s time for your friend to sing. You mute everyone except the singer. They belt one out. Life returns to normal. You do this again 15-20 minutes later.
Your party wraps up. This might happen on schedule. It might go on longer.  That’s why you got extra time.

Here’s the Sizzle for the Steak!
Lets assume your friends are local.  What would they do at a real live party?  Eat your food.  Drink your wine. 

For each guest or couple, you prepare a package.  It includes:

Bottle of wine (lemonade or apple cider for non-drinkers)

Sealed cheese. It’s a munchie.

Biscuits. To go with the cheese, of course.

Cookies. Dessert is served.

Ideally one of two of the items (biscuits, cookies) are baked by you.  There are sanitary and health considerations, of course.

You deliver the packages to their doorstep the day before your Zoom party.  They enjoy the munchies you provided while they attend your party.