Pre-Event Communication: More Than Just an Email

One of my favorite things to do each day is to check the mail. There is always a glimmer of hope that someone might have taken the time to write me a quick note. Typically, it’s just bills. Every once in a while, though, I get that sweet handwritten surprise. My husband doesn’t see the point in sending a letter when you could just as easily type an email. On the other hand, I will spend ten minutes looking for an email address to avoid calling someone, while my husband would just as soon make the call immediately. Bottom line: we all like to communicate in different ways.

This difference should find its way into our event planning. Because different people communicate in different ways, you should incorporate various means of correspondence with event attendees prior to an event. Here are a few ways you can utilize these types of communication. I would recommend using a minimum of three, but realize it would be great to try your hand at all of them.

  • Email is one of the simplest communication tools. You can easily send mass emails through programs such as MailChimp. Consider sending an email each month prior to your event with important information, event updates, and highlights of keynote speakers, worship leaders, and breakout sessions.
  • Phone calls. In an age of smartphones at our fingertips, we are often never more than a phone call away. Depending on the size of your conference, it may not be feasible to personally call each attendee, but if you can, consider calling and letting your attendees know you are excited they are coming and ask if they have any questions.
  • Text messages. In your registration process, ask for permission to send text messages pertaining to the conference. If a guest agrees, place his/her number on a mass texting list to use to send pertinent event information or last-minute updates. Mass texting services are available through a variety of companies at different price points. Do your research to find the one best for you.
  • Handwritten notes. Simple, handwritten notes letting your attendees know you are excited they are coming to the event adds a very personal touch to your event communication. Even a formal note or card with a handwritten line at the bottom carries a certain level of intimacy rather than just a form letter with a stamped signature. If you don’t have time to write a personal message, consider having the retreat leadership team personally sign each note.
  • Social media. Regardless of the size of your event, you need to be on social media. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all great tools to communicate event details to your attendees, as well as create buzz for others considering attending your event. This is a simple way to begin networking, allow event attendees to correspond with each other, and incorporate special extras like contests and giveaways.

Communication with your event attendees will take time. Engage a team of volunteers to help with this task. Recruit volunteers who love to make phone calls (yes, they do exist) or write notes to aide you in your event correspondence.

How you communicate prior to your event has the potential to move your event from good to great. There is a thin line between over-communication and under-communication. Too much and your attendees will get annoyed. Too little and your event may lose momentum. Work diligently to find the right balance; your attendees will appreciate the ways you reach out to keep them updated and excited about the upcoming event.

 

11 Popular Posts From The First Half of 2013

Wow! Hard to believe we’re half way thru 2013 already.  We hope and pray your summer is going well. Our summer here at Ridgecrest is off to a roaring start, full of groups and summer activities.  In spite of all the busyness, we thought this might be a good time to catch you up on 11 of the most read posts so far this year. Hopefully you will find a helpful  post you might otherwise have missed…

clothes pins

  1. 5 Gift Ideas For A Women’s Retreat – Giving a gift is a nice (but completely not necessary) gesture that will always encourage memories of the experience. Here are 5 perfect, mostly inexpensive, thoughtful gifts for women.
  2. 5 Tips For Programming Effective Youth Camps – Brian Mills serves as student pastor Long Hollow Baptist Church and is passionate about reaching young people for Christ. Here are his thoughts on how to program your youth camp for maximum spiritual impact.
  3. What’s A Hollow Square? – As in any industry, hotels and conference centers sometimes have a language all their own. Here are some of the key terms a planner needs to know…
  4. A Sample Pre-Event Communication To Your Attendees – Sending out an email, letter or packet to those who register for your event is an excellent idea. Here’s a sample…
  5. 3 Common Social Media Mistakes To Avoid – There are tons of mistakes you can make while using Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media, that will deter customers and fans so we want to help…
  6. 5 Keys To A Great Staff Retreat – Staff retreats can be a strategic part of building a highly productive team. However, the difference between a mediocre staff retreat and a great one is having a good game plan. To help with planning your next staff retreat, here are 5 keys you want to make sure  are part of your plan…
  7. 7 Killer Resources For Event Planners – Books, conferences, articles, and eBooks are waiting to help you better market, organize, and run your next event. Here are some to help get you started…
  8. 7 Questions To Ask Your Event Coordinator – If you’re the group leader or meeting planner, please be sure to take full advantage of all your meeting coordinator has to offer.
  9. 3 Event Must Haves – Want your event to be successful? Here are 3 things you really need to be on top of…
  10. 7 Tips For Getting The Most From A Site Visit – Once you decide to make a site visit, here are 7 tips to help you maximize your time.
  11. Meeting Planner Survival Kit – Many planners need to be prepared to address last minute needs and emergencies. Here is a starter list of items you need to have in your meeting planner survival kit to be prepared at your next event.

Which post have you found most helpful?

 

Write On: A Sample Pre-Event Communication to Your Attendees

Sending out an email, letter or packet to those who register for your event is an excellent idea.  It allows you to provide them with necessary details and to communicate your event purpose and personality.  Here is a sample of what such a letter might include:

Dear Thomas,

We have received your registration for the 2012 Pastor’s Training Event on March 15, 2013 in Asheville, NC.  We are looking forward to providing you with encouragement and tools that will enable you to better teach, inspire, comfort, train and pray for your congregation when you return home.

Schedule:

March 15 2013
3 pm    Registration, Rollings Conference Hall
5 pm    Dinner in Ballroom
6:30     Large Group Worship, Rollings Room 500

March 16 2013
7 am    Breakfast, Dining Hall
8 am    Large Group Worship Rollings Room 500
10 am  Break out Sessions (see attached sheet for details, no reservations needed)
12 noon Lunch, Dining Hall
3 pm    Final Large Group Worship, Rollings Room 500

Included in this packet you will find recommendations on lodgings, all of which provide an airport shuttle to the Rollings Conference Center.  The average temperature in Asheville, NC in March is 43 degrees Fahrenheit, the locals dress in layers and wear a good coat outside!  During this time of training, encouragement and worship, please feel free to dress casually.  We encourage you to bring your Bible, and participants in the past have told us they benefit greatly by bringing a notebook and business cards.  Wireless internet access will be provided in the conference hall, but we ask that computers not be used during the large group worship sessions.  If you have any questions, please contact Jeremy Tyler, Event Support Leader at 828.669.1234 or jeremy.tyler@pte.com

Sincerely,

David Grouper
Pastor’s Training Event

A letter like the one above communicates care, organization and intentionality.  The attendee now knows where to make reservations, what to pack, and what the main purpose of his time in Asheville will be.  Detailed packing lists are needed only when younger participants are involved or the situation will be out of the ordinary (like camping).  Think carefully through what information it is important your participants have before arriving, and also what questions they might have.  Addressing these in a pre-conference communication will save you lots of time and phone calls!