The Party Scientist’s Top 10 Tools for Virtual Joy and Connection


Learn ten simple tools to produce magical human moments.

Read this if to upgrade your virtual facilitation skills. I will share 10 of my go-to strategies for designing high-ticket corporate virtual experiences.

My experience with LUSH Cosmetics.

It has been a year and half since I was forced to develop my virtual facilitation skills. I return to this article with new insights about Zoom and virtual activities.

At first, I was a total amateur. I did not know how to use a mixer and microphone. My database of games and tricks was small. And, my studio was ugly. Period. How things have changed…

Today, I lead virtual experiences for conferences, LUSH Cosmetics, Accenture, and other Fortune companies. I have hacked the code of producing the exhilaration and liberation we thought was only possible with a giant physical festival stage. I want to share with you some of the codes.

Codes that go beyond good quality audio and video.

Now is still the time to become a master in facilitating virtual human connection!

#1: Designate a speaker.

Give people turns to speak. In a large group, interruptions can destroy the psychological safety within a meeting. If people want to speak or ask a question, I encourage them to let me know through the chat function. Alternatively, I use people’s names to nominate them to speak.

#2: Leverage music.

Music is the universal human language. Before starting an event, I like to play a lighthearted song, one that everyone recognizes and one that elicits laughter. As an example, you could play the Circle of Life or Whitney Houston. Here’s one of my favourites that always works.

#3: Leverage movement.

Getting enough blood flow to the brain is important. Physical exercise releases endorphins. These improve our mood. I like to have my participants stand up and clap to a song or follow a few simple movements. You can have your participants lead these movements, as well.

#4: Leverage visualization.

At the very beginning of my video calls, I leverage visualization in two ways. I get my participants to imagine they are in a room together. And, I encourage my participants to imagine their best friends’ smiles in the room with them. Afterward, I get everyone to share a smile with everyone else on the video call. And perhaps a creative gesture.

#5: Ensure two-way communication.

If participants are watching instead of interacting with others, it is less likely they will experience joy and belonging. I use the break-out room function in Zoom to allow more interactions among my participants. This assigns them to small groups so that there is more space for participants to speak. I also give my participants ways to interact with one another. For example, I use an open mic at the end of the event called the Unconditional Round of Applause.

#6: Let participants be seen.

To be seen and heard is a psychological need. During group activities, I spotlight different participants. This means that the entire group sees them on the screen. This gives them a chance to say hello to everyone else on the call. Meeting hosts, stop hogging the spotlight!

#7: Show and tell.

Being home-bound puts us in proximity to a lot of meaningful keepsakes. I like to have my participants share a meaningful item with the group, oftentimes accompanied by a short story. This has been successful in fostering emotional closeness. It’s best to use the breakout function for this activity.

#8: Play a game.

There are hundreds of games out there. Jackbox and Deepfun.com are two great resources. Two of my favourite games are called No No No Thank You and It Could Be Worse. These games are great because they are simple, short, and require no interface.

#9: Do or watch something laughter-inducing together.

Shared laughter is medicine. Find a meme or short video that is innocently funny. Share your screen and computer audio, and voila! Make sure to unmute participants so you can hear everyone laughing. An excellent example is the sheep-check in exercise.

#10: Do a compliment shoutout.

This is a gratitude exercise. I encourage my participants to either (a) use the chat to describe and compliment what someone did or (b) I give the mic to someone who wants to verbally compliment another participant in the group. Oftentimes, without the explicit permission to recognize our peers, we don’t do it. This is an excellent way to end meetings.


Send me an email or comment below with one action you’ll take to apply this knowledge. Research suggests that, otherwise, you’ll forget everything you just read. Email: [email protected]

Have a team that requires a boost of joy, team spirit, and connection? I can help you develop an experience to do just that.

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