Communicating With Your Attendees

Putting systems into place to communicate with your group during an event is wonderfully useful tool for leaders.  Don’t wait until you have an emergency or schedule change notification to set up a group communication system.  In today’s world, you have multiple options: email, texting, twitter, Facebook, even walkie talkies.  Think about your group, and decide what plan takes advantage of the “low hanging fruit.”  Meaning, what does most of your group already use to communicate?  Does everyone respond to your emails within minutes, or is it a group more comfortable with texting?  If you don’t know, ask- and if a clear winner emerges, choose that.  Notify your group how you plan to communicate with them and what method you will use.

Setting up a group within your email or cell phone contacts will save you lots of time.   Include everyone you would want to contact and title it something you can remember like “retreat 2012”.  Then, when you need to send a message, you can pull up the group and quickly send an update without wondering who you have forgotten!

What might you send out updates for?  Information about group-specific gatherings like meal times and meeting places, free time group activities, or even questions about what speakers people are particularly enjoying.  Unless you have a group that truly enjoy lots of updates, don’t pepper your group with messages every hour.

If you have a group that doesn’t use cell phones or you’re going to a location without cell service- consider walkie talkies.  These can also be useful between cars or vans while traveling.  Using walkie talkies means you will need to designate a user and know that the group will remain fairly close together so that the information can be disseminated.

If you have a large group, more than twenty people, it might benefit you to break your group into smaller subsets and assign a leader for each.  Then you can communicate with your leaders and have them pass the information to their group.

With your group communication plan in place you’ll be able to quickly and efficiently notify your circle during the ups and downs of your event experience.  Decide on a method of communication, create contact groups to make it fast and simple, and notify your group of the plan. Ready, set, go!