Top 10 tools for creating virtual joy and connection, certified by party scientists.

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It’s uncharted territory. The whole world is stuck at home. Physical-distancing is becoming the new normal.

But, there is still hope. Technology has saved us from social isolation.

In the last three weeks, my confidence in technology for facilitating authentic connection and joy increased hugely. I have become a master of Zoom, the founder of a virtual disco club, and a resource to companies and teams looking for new ways to foster happy, healthy employees.

As a virtual connection specialist, I wanted to share some of my tools for facilitating cohesion and joy in groups with you.

Now is 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.

#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 ideally, one that elicits laughter. As an example, you can play the lion king.

#3: Leverage movement.

With everyone stuck at home, getting enough blood flow to the brain is important. Physical exercise releases endorphins. It changes 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 and smiling.

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.

#5: Ensure two-way emotional exchange.

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). I also give my participants ways to interact with one another. Example: An open mic at the end of the event.

#6: Let participants be seen.

To be seen and heard is a psychological need. During group activities, I spotlight different participants, meaning, 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, often times accompanied by a short story. This has been successful in fostering emotional closeness.

#8: Play a game.

There hundreds of games out there. Jackbox and are two great resources. Two of my favourite games are called No No No Thank You and Competitive Blessings. These games are great because they are simple, short, and require no interface.

#9: Watch something laughter-inducing together.

Shared laughter is a 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.

#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.

This is a snapshot of some of the tools which I incorporate into my virtual joy experiences.

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

Design your manifesto around happiness and connection.

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Your manifesto is a declaration of the principles you encourage yourself or your community members to follow.

It is like your etiquette, the guiding principles for how YOU want to behave or how you want YOUR PEOPLE to behave.

Over the years of instigating renegade sober parties across the planet and facilitating human connection at events, I developed what I call the ‘code of celebration.’ This is VYVE’s manifesto.

If you show up to a VYVE, you will have read the manifesto.

The code of celebration’s objective is to maximize the amount of health, happiness, and social relationships generated from a vyve.

Active Engagement: You are in the here and now.

You actively engage and participate in your surroundings, as opposed to absentmindedly. You are creative and playful in your interactions. You take a role in making the party happen, as opposed to waiting for it happen. You use your phone only as a tool to participate in and capture euphoric moments.

Natural Euphoria: You are vyving, not partying.

You don’t need alcohol or drugs to engage in meaningful human connection. You practice the art of vyving: getting exhilarated through engaging in human connection alone, in the form of laughing, singing, dancing, and smiling with others.

Community of Kindness: You are competing to spread the most fun.

You invite people to join, instead of judging or excluding people. You welcome everyone, accept everyone, and support everyone in being their true selves, whatever that might be. There’s no such thing as embarrassment here. Status is rewarded for sharing joy with others, not in excluding or impressing.

Respect: You behave with an awareness of others and their boundaries.

You exercise self-restraint, courtesy, and consent. Although you are wild and free, you follow rules, laws, and common courtesies when interacting with the environment and each other.

Learning: You vyve with a growth mindset.

You leverage your vyving experiences to become a better person, in your relationships and in your society. You lift people up from their mistakes, because mistakes are normal. Failures and interpersonal risk-taking are encouraged. If someone takes a risk trying something new, you will applaud their courage.

Responsibility: You take responsibility for your actions.

You respect the community in which you vyve. You stop and apologize if you have disrupted others, or the environment. Your responsibility stems from a deep gratitude for being able to vyve freely.

How to cultivate connection: social engagement mode

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According to polyvagal theory…

PAUSE: Vagal refers to the vagus nerve that innervates the parasympathetic nervous system. This division of the nervous system is known for bringing about a rest-relax-digest response.


… social engagement mode is a state of the body’s nervous system.

When particular nerve fibers belonging to the parasympathetic nervous system are activated, social engagement mode is turned on.

When we are in this mode, we are expressive, we can listen and understand others, we feel open and curious, and our body feels calm and grounded.

What compromises social engagement mode?

Simply, triggers of the opposite, sympathetic nervous system. This is the flight or fight response.

As a celebration scientist, I am trying to reduce this response as much as possible, so that people are able to connect and relate with one another. So that people can express themselves. So that people can have fun and not worry.

Here is how I do it:

1. I make sure the environment is physically safe.

2. I communicate the manifesto of the VYVE community: kindness, respect, inclusion, and learning. I get every participant to directly agree to upholding the manifesto.

3. I promote a sense of familiarity among group members by conducting icebreaker exercises. This involves witnessing others and being witnessed by others.

4. I lead with vulnerability and imperfection. Either I tell everyone how lonely I was as a teenager, or I belt the quote:

“We’re all weird, in the weirdest of ways. And most of us are trying to hide it. If someone lets it out, it is your duty to encourage their weirdness. It is an act of courage. Make it your priority to give them a high-five… maybe even copy them.”

5. I change people’s mood and physical energy by applying neuro-chemically active exercises! In other words, I get people vibing through getting them to do certain things, like smiling and waving at others.

There’s countless other techniques I use to get people into social engagement mode.

If you take away one thing from this article, remember that you are weird, and when you reveal your weirdness, you give others the permission to do so as well.

Written while wearing a banana suit,
Jacques Martiquet, Chief Celebration Scientist

How to change your brain chemistry to be more social

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Do you want to learn to put yourself in a better mood?

You should.

Because when you are in a better mood, you can connect with people better. You can start a conversation more easily. You can spread fun more organically. It’s less effort.

You can test out different strategies to get yourself into a social, happy, and energetic mood. Regardless of sleep deprivation, feelings of loneliness, or anxiety.

Here are a few!

1. EXERCISE: Elevate your heart rate by getting moving or groovin’

2. GIVING: Give someone something. My favourites are the high-five, a compliment, or a hug.

3. LAUGHTER: Watch a funny video. Laugh your guts out.

4. VISUALIZATION: Close your eyes and visualize one of the happiest moments in your life.

If I am feeling anti-social, I use one of these techniques to turn the tables. They release mood-changing neuro-chemicals.

I remember when I was attending a festival in Amsterdam, I really wanted to go home and sleep. Instead, I used one of these techniques. I ended up having one of the best nights of my life.