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Most clients do not want to hear this, but it can actually be quite challenging to create an online dance party.
The truth is that it’s not always realistic to expect dancing from your guests for an extended time frame. Zoom and virtual meetings are already awkward, let alone expecting people to dance in their living room to music with audio quality lower than what they could provide themselves.
Am I saying it’s not possible?
Of course not, but we have a few suggestions to help ensure your online dance party or virtual event is a smashing success with high engagement levels.
So how do you get your guests to go from this…
#1 Pick your platform carefully and learn it well-
Not all virtual platforms have the same functionality or audio quality.
Some platforms are only in Webinar format, which means you can’t switch (or let participants change) to gallery view and see everyone, which doesn’t work for a dance party. We feel Zoom has been the most stable and easiest to use with the best audio quality, but Google Meet also works well. Microsoft Teams , Webex and Go To Meeting didn’t have enough flexibility in audio settings for our liking, and we weren’t happy with the results.
We have done several larger-sized fundraisers and corporate meetings where the client was using a bigger & more robust platform to host a full day of programs. We still used Zoom and just had their A/V (audiovisual) team send all guests to our room during the dance party breaks, and it worked well.
Again, to have a virtual dance party or any type of games with participant engagement, you need to make sure your platform has a gallery view option and is NOT in webinar format. Invest the time to really learn your platform and all it’s features so you can troubleshoot and also make the most of your virtual event.
#1.5 Have a dedicated host, moderator, and a premium plan-
Zoom has a 40-minute limit for the free version, so you’ll need to have a paid account if you want to go longer and host more than 100 participants or have cloud recording and other fancy features.
As I’ve already mentioned, make sure you (or your host) is familiar with the platform and all its features. We also suggest having a 2nd person (or 3rd for larger groups) as a moderator to help mute participants if somehow they accidentally unmute, kick out any zoom crashers, spotlight people during games and dancing.
One mistake we see frequently is once the event has started, nobody is monitoring the waiting room, and guests that are late or lost connection join and are stuck in limbo and missing all the fun.
#2 Create a theme-
Create a theme and reward guests for participating.
People who rolled up to the zoom call in their sweats are in a completely different state of mind. Creating a theme gives your guests something to strive for and a reason to look forward to the party.
If we have an 80s or 90s theme and there are significant price incentives for people to get creative, pull clothing out of their closet and dress up, their whole mindset has been changed and switched on to “fun mode” before the event starts.
Dress your best
Crazy hat day
Having a theme will set a tone and give participants a direction to go and a reason to participate!
#3 Hire a professional DJ-
Sure, you can create your own playlist, but part of the fun & wow factor for guests showing up and seeing they have a live Zoom DJ! Encouraging participants to make requests (via chat) will help keep them interested if they know they have a song coming up soon.
Most professional DJs will have a very polished looking setup, DJ mixer with an external sound card and high-quality camera. Still, you should ask to see samples or a live demo in advance to make sure they can match your event or party’s look, style, and vibe.
We like to use a green screen with OBS (open broadcast software) because we can create a ton of fun and engaging virtual backgrounds and visuals to fit the party theme and different scenes and transitions that make the show look very professional.
See examples here:
DJ for Zoom Virtual Event with Green Screen Background
#4 Hire a professional virtual host or MC-
Ensure your DJ or music selector is comfortable functioning as the MC/host, making announcements and engaging your guests with fun banter. Otherwise, considering hiring a professional MC to work in tandem with your DJ. We always have a DJ & MC combo for larger groups because there are too many moving parts for one DJ to handle while trying to focus on mixing and song selection. Remember, there are professional virtual hosts for a reason: Hosting & public speaking is a highly tuned skillset!
DJ & MC Combo for Virtual Events
#5 Good Audio & Visuals-
You MUST have good audio if you are expecting people to dance at your virtual event.
Also, encourage all guests to tune in from a computer (or cast computer to home TV/stereo system) with great speakers and solid internet.
Even if you have the sound 100% optimized on your end, if guests tune in from a phone or bad laptop, the sound will be poor quality and they won’t be inspired to dance. Remember the last time you went to a nightclub or party with a crappy sound system and you danced all night?
Nope, us either.
As much as I would like to think so, the reality is that nobody wants to stare at a DJ on a screen for very long. Despite how amazing the music is, it can get boring. We use some fun & creative visuals to offset the DJ stream and keep guests entertained.
By showing people videos of people dancing, it psychologically triggers their desire to dance!
#6 Prizes, prizes prizes-
Having done a ton of virtual events and quickly gaining a reputation as the #1 best virtual DJ/MC/Host in Los Angeles, we have learned a few tricks to help engagement. Having prizes encourages guests to show up and not flake on the party/meeting and helps increase participation significantly. People love feeling special, being recognized, and most importantly, winning prizes! When we have a great bag of prizes, we can spotlight people and really get them to engage. The better the prize, the better the engagement. However, you would be surprised what we can get people to do for a $10 Starbucks gift card!
Best Zoom Party Contest Winner
#7 You have prizes, now let’s add some contests-
People have a much shorter endurance for dancing virtually as oppose to a wedding or corporate event. Even at live events, guests usually only dance in 15-45 minute spurts, and that’s with a full open bar. Instead of struggling to keep/force people dancing, it works well to break up smaller dance sets with fun contests.
The other issue we frequently see with Zoom calls is participants show up but keep their camera off.
Having all guests present with cameras on, you can create much more energy in the room!
Just like a live event, when someone sees others dancing, it inspires them to dance.
If people go into gallery view and see lots of black screens, it’s just like walking into a nightclub and saying: “this place is dead” because only 10 people are on the dance floor.
Here are a few suggestions on contests to ensure guests keep cameras ON:
Best virtual background contest
Bring a prop, and everyone must guess the significance
Theme contest (crazy hats, sunglasses, funny T-shirt etc.)
Where is the item? (Have 1 participant hide an item someplace in their background and see who can go into gallery view and find it first)
Or, how about doing some Virtual Karaoke?
People love to sing, so we’ve adapted our standard Karaoke show specifically for online virtual events.
See more about our Karaoke HERE
By having a contest, your increase the chances that guests tune in with their cameras on.
Also, if everyone has a virtual background it creates much more energy in the room when everyone is in gallery view.
People love games, winning things, and feeling special.
We have had great success in breaking up sets of dancing with games that reward participation with prizes.
A good formula for a successful virtual event looks like this:
Welcome & warm-up icebreakers
Award ceremony & prize giveaway
Open dance party till end
Name that tune
Mirror the action
**We have MANY more fun contests, games, team building exercises, and ideas, so CONTACT US to learn more**
In this climate, people subconsciously are dying to break out, cut loose, and have a little fun, but the zoom environment is a bit sterile, so the more direction we can give people, the more likely they are to respond.
When it’s time for dancing, the key is this: Smaller durations and more spontaneous.
The reality is if you just play music and say “hey everybody have a dance party “, your results typically will not be what you hoped for when visioning the party.Here we suggest a few ideas to make it more exciting and keep everyone engaged:
Owner/pet dance contest (people LOVE showing their pets!)
Follow the leader (Host assigns a guest to make 10 dance moves, and everyone must mirror)
Freeze dance (similar to live events, guests must keep dancing till the song stops and freeze in a silly position until music continues)
Simon Says- MC calls out popular dance styles like the sprinkle, cabbage patch, robot, twist, wobble etc.
Dance Battle- Host will spotlight 2 participants and play five songs at random. The 2 participants must dance for 15 seconds, and then we will do a poll or vote to pick a winner. (the ability to spotlight multiple participants in a new feature in the latest Zoom update)
Have a live dance instructor teach everyone a new dance
#10 Be Flexible & Realistic-
Like a live event, sometimes everyone wants to go crazy and dance nonstop…other times, they are in the mood to hang out and visit with each other. Set a plan for your virtual party, but be flexible and leave room to adjust spontaneously depending on how your participants react. One client was adamant about just doing a dance party for a solid 45 minutes straight and declined our suggestions of games and other engagements. So after about 20 minutes, some people got bored/fatigued and started turning their camera off or leaving the meeting entirely. It was a slow decline to an anti-climactic ending, which was frustrating for us and for the client. I’m positive if we had been given the latitude and flexibility to use our instincts and change up the engagement, we would have kept everyone and ended on a high note.
If your participants aren’t into dancing, don’t force them, but instead give them another fun activity and circle back to dancing later.
I hope these suggestions are helpful and equip you with enough ideas & information to make your next virtual dance party or corporate online event a smashing success!
Should you want to hire an experienced professional to make it even more amazing, CONTACT US, and we will handle the rest!