The Quest #160: 💛How to create a heartfelt virtual celebration

Hello friends,

Greetings from Barcelona ☀️

🙌Many thanks for reading The Quest, your weekly round-up of tips and insights to help you design and lead exceptional online sessions that your group members will love.❤️

Let’s jump right in.

How do you create a heartfelt celebration on Zoom?

I wondered this as I planned a celebration of life for my father-in-law Ricardo last weekend. I felt nervous about hosting such a personal and important family event online – what if it didn’t work out?

It was impossible to be together in person.

With 15 family members in 5 countries, we couldn’t be physically in the same place. But we didn’t want distance to stop us.

We decided to try.

The first surprise was seeing Ricardo’s long-lost brother appear on the screen sharing stories none of us had heard. Then the grandkids chimed in with their favorite memories of their “Opa”. And for an hour we shared photos, music, laughs, and more than a few tears.

It exceeded our expectations.

I think we were all surprised by how close and connected we could feel on Zoom. There were moments during the call where I literally felt the screen melt away.

Done well, a virtual celebration can rival in-person gatherings.

In some cases, virtual celebrations can be even better. They can feel even more personal and intimate. And they make it possible to celebrate together even when you can’t be in the same place.

You can create memorable celebrations online.

Here’s the secret. Unlike in-person events, the magic of virtual events doesn’t just happen. It needs to be crafted. And with a little creativity and some facilitation techniques, your virtual celebrations can be meaningful and fun.

How do you create a heartfelt virtual celebration? That’s our Quest for this week. 🔎

👉 5 Essential Do’s and Don’ts for Memorable Virtual Celebrations

👉This Week’s Facilitator Finds

5 Essential Do’s  and Don’ts for Designing Memorable Virtual Celebrations

I’m not a professional party planner – far from it! But designing meaningful virtual celebrations has become one of the most rewarding ways I use my online facilitation skills (even though it’s not my day job:).

My virtual celebration resumé covers birthdays, family reunions, holiday parties, graduations, and now celebrations of life.

Here’s what I’ve learned through plenty of trials and many errors:

✅ Do Have a Clear Purpose
“Why are we here?” should never be a mystery. Include the purpose in the invitation and share it at the start of the event to set the right tone.

❌ Don’t Assume the Purpose is Obvious

When the purpose isn’t clear people may show up to be polite, but they won’t be excited to be there.

✅ Do Make it Meaningful
Custom-fit the celebration to the interests and passions of your guest of honor – be it their obsession with horoscopes or passion for Mexican recipes. Weave these into the event’s flow.

❌ Don’t Rely on virtual party “Tips & Tricks”
Off-the-shelf party ideas can feel tacky and insincere.

✅ Do Engage Everyone
Invite contributions from all guests before and during the event. Think funny photos and little-known anecdotes. Turning guests into active participants is what creates spontaneous moments of sharing and magic.

❌ Don’t plan on long speeches
Long monologues can quickly lose people’s attention.

✅ Do Add an Element of Surprise
Introduce a ‘wow’ factor, such as a live performance, a surprise guest appearance, or a real-time gift delivery that can delight attendees.

❌Don’t Overdo the Unexpected.

Too much unpredictability can lead to chaos.

✅ Do Share a Keepsake
Provide a memento of the event. This could be a digital slideshow link, a group photo, a shared playlist, a physical thank you card or a gift sent after the event.

❌Don’t make it an afterthought

Make coming up with a keepsake part of the planning and have it ready to share immediately after the call finishes.

How about you? What makes a virtual celebration meaningful for you?

🪄Live Session Magic – Coming Soon!

Whether I am designing virtual celebrations or online courses, I use the same road-tested session design framework.

And it’s what I’ll be sharing with you in my new on-demand course Live Session Magic.

Someone asked me if the framework applies to all kinds of live online sessions. The answer is YES! It’s live session agnostic. And it adapts to the needs of your specific audience. That’s what brings the magic. ✨

If you are looking for a repeatable system for designing top-notch live online sessions, I invite you to join the interest list. You’ll be the first to get the special launch price and bonuses. 🎉🎉🎉

Thanks to Stephanie De Sousa for designing the Live Session Magic Logo

💪 This Week’s Facilitator Finds

I’ve got three brilliant newsletters for you this week (this isn’t a paid promotion thing, I just like these newsletters and I think you will too:)

#1/ ✍️Adam Rosendahl’s newsletter A Drawing and a Playlist. A monthly dose of creativity and music from seasoned creative facilitator and founder of Late Nite Art.

#2/ ✍️Rob Walker’s newsletter The Art of Noticing. A newsletter about creativity, work and staying human written by the author of the book by the same name. Check out the reader-driven icebreaker of the week. H/T Terri Lonier for the share.

#3/ ✍️Terri Lonier’s newsletter SOLO. Brought to you by the pioneer of the solopreneur movement to help people who work on their own standout. Golden advice on personal branding, storytelling and more. Check out her posts on LinkedIn for more insights.

💌 Thanks for reading The Quest

I always love hearing your feedback and suggestions. Just hit reply to share your thoughts and ideas.

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Creatively yours,

Whenever you are ready there are 2 more ways I can help you:

👉Custom coaching & team training. Book a free 15-minute zero-commitment call with me to see how I can support you and your team.

👉5-week Live Online Course. The Breakthrough Facilitation course gives you tools, personalized feedback, and a proven framework for designing and leading high-engagement live sessions. Join the interest list and be the first to get the next cohort dates and discounts.

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