(2-3 minutes read) The impact of Covid 19 is testing everyone, re-adjusting the way we live. Social distancing and self-isolation mean that we are not meeting up like we used to. Organising a virtual family reunion is the best way to combat isolation, boredom and gives us a chance to reconnect with our heritage. The advantages of hosting a virtual family reunion are:
- You can interact with each other miles apart,
- You can learn more about your heritage from other people,
- You can save and preserve the virtual experience for the future.
Here are 9 Steps on hosting a successful Virtual Family Reunion:
1. Choose your virtual platform
There are many virtual platforms for you to meet up with your family. You are looking for the platform that works best for the number of people attending your family reunion, your budget and the types of devices your family will be using. Below are some popular web meeting tools:
2. Prepare your family
You should provide clear instructions about the platform you will be using for your reunion. Your chosen app will need to be installed on many devices by your family members and each app will have its own interface with tips and tricks. Why not create a web or Facebook page with instructions, or send regular updates via email or text.
3. Open the meeting early
Not everyone will have the same technological knowledge. You should open your meeting room early to give people time to settle into the virtual room – they may have questions about connecting with other people, the agenda or simply want to catch up on family gossip. As the host, you should be ready to patiently answer how-to questions.
4. To mute or not to mute
Just like in real life, a lot of people in a room can be noisy. Ask your family members to mute themselves to keep your reunion distractions low and allow the speaker to have the floor.
5. Have an agenda
Make sure you create an informative agenda for the reunion. Having an agenda eliminates dead space and gives structure and purpose to the reunion. It helps participants to know when their turn is coming up and helps the host to always be aware of what is happening and when.
6. Honor memories of loved ones
Remember the loved ones who are no longer with you during a family reunion by planning a memorial service. This can be as formal or as informal as you want. They contributed to your ancestry and should be remembered.
7. Hire a professional genealogist
Your reunion will be a lot more engaging and entertaining if you hire a genealogist who is familiar with the area where your ancestors originally came from. I had done a one-hour presentation on the Moncreiffe family from Perthshire telling stories about their ancestors linking them to the local history. Read my blog on the Moncreiffe surname here and contact me if you want help with your Scottish family history for a virtual family reunion.
8. Save and preserve
Just like at an actual reunion, take plenty of pictures of your reunion. Some online platforms will allow you to save the virtual reunion. Encourage participants to grab screenshots and even use a separate camera to take pictures of their screen. You are making priceless memories here, and you will want to preserve and share them.
9. Get in touch for help
Creating a successful and fun virtual family reunion requires some planning, a bit of creativity, and a good amount of technical skill. Give yourself time to properly plan and execute your event, and don’t hesitate to contact me if you need help making your event a success.
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