10 Easy Ways to Make Virtual Baby Showers Less Awkward

10 Easy Ways to Make Virtual Baby Showers Less Awkward

May 6, 2020

10 Easy Ways to Make Virtual Baby Showers Less Awkward

10 Easy Ways to Make Virtual Baby Showers Less Awkward

With in-person gatherings on hold for the foreseeable future, virtual parties and drive-by celebrations have quickly become the new norm for celebrating the ones we love. Despite not having a road map for these kinds of hangouts, most of us have been doing a pretty good job of making it up as we go (in fact, you can see a bunch of real-world virtual baby shower examples right here).

But anyone who has ever been in a conference call knows that sometimes video can be a little awkward, especially if you’re bringing together a group of people that don’t know each other well. And that’s okay! But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to ease the awkwardness. We’ve gathered 10 mix-and-match tips to help make your online get-togethers feel more like the real thing:

1. Consider your guest list

Just like real life, the energy of your party will change depending on how many people are invited. If you want to be able to converse with friends and loved ones, keep your guest list minimal (5 to 10 people, max). Beyond that, conversation starts to get challenging with people talking over each other or feeling like they shouldn’t talk at all. With that said, don’t stop yourself from inviting as many people as you want to your virtual shower. You just may need to adjust your programming (and we have advice for how to do that below).

2. Have a host

It sounds counterintuitive, but having a lot of people at your virtual party can lead to dead air (because no one wants to talk over each other). So designate a host to keep things moving along. They can initiate activities like shower games, gift opening or toasts and help avoid lulls in activity. That way your guests can feel like they are participating, without having to do the legwork themselves. This person can be whoever was going to host your IRL shower, or it can simply be your most extroverted loved one.

3. Keep it short and sweet

Traditional baby showers last a few hours to give the attendees plenty of time to mingle and chat. But your Zoom shower doesn’t need to be that long. Twenty to 30 minutes can be plenty of time for saying hello and opening a few presents or playing a game, and you can always extend the party once it’s started if people are having a good time

4. Give yourselves something to do

If your virtual shower involves more than a handful of people or if they don’t know each other well enough to chat, lean into group activities. For example, the host can interview you before the shower to gather fun facts about the parent(s) to be, and then quiz the attendees. Does the fun fact apply to you or your partner? (Or if you’re unpartnered, you can play an elongated version of two truths and a lie.) Have guests hold up a piece of paper with their answer on it. Whoever gets the most points wins bragging rights. You’ll find even more virtual shower game ideas right here.

5. Go beyond the standard guest list

Office employees may be feeling a little technology fatigued at the moment. But your elderly aunt and toddler nephew probably aren’t! Invite guests from across the age spectrum⁠—you’ll be amazed at how quickly your friend’s four-year-old can entertain a group of adults with a live narration of what happened in the most recent episode of Doc McStuffins.

6. Dress to impress

If you hear “Zoom call” and it brings up feelings of work meetings, make your shower a formal or themed event to help reframe it as something fun to look forward to (the ritual of getting ready also can help put you in the right headspace). Plus, fun outfits and themed attire are easy icebreakers that give people something to talk about when they enter the (Zoom) room.

7. Test your tech

Few things kill the vibe of a virtual celebration faster than technical difficulties. So test your video chat setup before things start (particularly your WiFi and audio connections). If you have guests attending who are less tech savvy, like an older relative, see if a loved one can reach out to help them work out any kinks too (or if you’re up for it, you can test with each other and use it as an excuse to catch up).

8. Use an accessible platform

If you have guests who are hard of hearing, it can be challenging for them to join in on the shower fun. Google Meet is one of the few video chat systems that offers live captioning. So if you’re planning on inviting a friend or relative who uses a hearing aid or sign language to communicate, look into hosting on a platform that allows them to participate.

9. Lean into the awkwardness

You can cut through tension pretty quickly simply by acknowledging it. Say to your guests, “I’m not sure what this is going to look like, but I appreciate you all for being here!” It’s like giving yourself—and them—a permission slip for things to be a little weird.

10. Do what feels right

There’s nothing that says your virtual shower has to follow the same rules as an in-person shower. So think about what’s going to be the most comfortable for you. Do you want to be able to have conversations with each of your guests, but still invite everyone you’d originally planned? Maybe that means a few small virtual parties instead of one big one. Or if you have local guests and what you really want is face-to-face time, perhaps what you need is a different baby shower alternative. There are no hard and fast rules to virtual parties yet. It’s partly why they can feel awkward, but it also means you get to make up your own rules.

Even more resources for hosting a virtual baby shower:

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