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The London Christmas Party Guide for All Budgets

The London Christmas Party Guide for All Budgets
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With Christmas party season approaching, many people will be looking forward to letting their hair down and having some well-earned fun. London is an amazing city for a night out at any time of the year, but when Christmas comes around and the capital lights up, it’s the perfect party destination with nights out to suit anyone’s tastes.

There’s no need to end up dancing round handbags by a tired looking buffet – there are plenty of party ideas to make your Christmas party truly memorable, whatever your budget.

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Take to the skies

For a Christmas trip that will really take your breath away, why not consider a helicopter trip? Seeing the familiar sights of London from above is a real eye-opener and even the spots you think you know well might offer a few surprises when seen from the air. There are plenty of different options for a sky-high celebration here.

Party like it’s Mardi Gras

If you want to party like a pro, then the carnival atmosphere of this Mardi Gras night is guaranteed to get you into the festive spirit. The music is loud and perfect for dancing, and the entertainment is dramatic with an undercurrent of the mysterious voodoo magic that embodies the spirit of New Orleans.

Undersea celebrations

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If you’ve ever wondered how an octopus prepares for Christmas, or what turtles get up to after dark, then this is your chance to find out. This party at the London SeaLife Aquarium is a chance to immerse yourself in an amazing underwater world, with a range of creatures from seahorses to sharks joining in the entertainment.

Travel through time

If you want to party like it’s 1599, then a black cab won’t be enough – you’ll need the ‘Spirit of London Ride’ to take you on a journey through history, courtesy of Madame Tussaud’s waxworks. A night out such as this one provides guests with the chance to rub shoulders with stars throughout the centuries before hitting the dance floor to boogie the night away.

Spectacular shows

Combining the elegant setting of a Grade II listed building with the spirit of a thoroughly modern Christmas, this party has something for everyone. Guests can watch aerial acts defy gravity above your head, take on lady luck at the casino or just sit back and soak up the live music.

The Middle Range

Team-building

If you want to use your festive celebrations as an opportunity to bring your team together, then there are plenty of fun ideas which will give everyone a chance to learn something about themselves and each other here. From a traditional afternoon tea, albeit on a double-decker bus, to a graffiti workshop, there’s plenty to appeal to even the most eclectic tastes.

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Steampunk soiree

Bringing together the grandeur of the Victorian era with the cutting edge technology of the 21st century, this fantasy party combines the very best entertainment from the last 150 years. From a life-sized hot air balloon to a traditional strongman, guests will be amused, astonished and eager to strut their stuff on the dance-floor as the night progresses.

Celebrations: shaken not stirred

As the embodiment of sophistication, James Bond’s lifestyle is the envy of many a party-goer. A taste of the Casino Royale lifestyle awaits guests, with everything from red carpets to casino tables manned by real croupiers for this truly glamorous night out.

The magic of Monte Carlo

Live the life of a millionaire in Monaco with this classy party that seeks to recreate an entire city within one room. From Grand Prix simulators to a fun casino where you can play roulette and blackjack, the lifestyle of the rich and famous can be yours on this night out.

Gatsby’s great night out

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Partying really came into its own during the roaring ‘20s when the Great Gatsby was blazing a trail for future generations to follow. This themed party is a great way to capture the essence of the jazz age, so budding flappers and dandies can enjoy a night with a difference.

Smaller Budgets

Sing your heart out

Nothing gets the party started like a good sing-along, and a karaoke booth will have everyone belting out their top tunes by the end of the night. For a bash which doesn’t break the bank but really goes with a swing, a karaoke booth, such as the ones on this site, is a great way to get everyone into the festive spirit.

Traditional fun in the pub

As well as its landmarks, London is famous for the many pubs that have provided residents and visitors with places to eat and drink throughout history. A Christmas party in a pub such as this one is a chance to eat, drink and be merry in one of the city’s most welcoming settings.

Going underground

This might be the craziest golf yet as you head towards a tunnel beneath Waterloo station to try your hand at their specially designed nine-hole course. The on-site cocktail bar adds to the party feel, and a little friendly competition will have everyone vying for festive bragging rights.

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Walking tours

Whether you want to see the most impressive festive lights, learn about the scientific history of London or test your knowledge of the capital’s secrets and surprises, there is a walking tour to suit you here. Whatever interests you, you can learn a lot about the city and kick off Christmas with some fascinating insights with one of the tours mentioned in this article.

Game for a good time

Video games aren’t just for the hardcore fans – there are plenty of options here for those who have never held a controller before, particularly if they like singing or dancing. You can choose between inflatable game pods or mobile game wagons to make your gaming party suit your needs perfectly.

Revelers who want to celebrate Christmas in style will love the chance to break away from the traditions and throw a party with a difference. There are plenty of great ideas for unique activity parties in the capital and this article is packed with top tips to make your celebrations truly special.

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James Timpson

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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