please come to my event

empty parking lotI hear it all the time. I say it some of the time.

“How to I get more people to come to our workshop, party, social event, choir rehearsal?”

We plan an event. We put out some announcements in whatever the usual announcement channels are. And then, when people don’t attend, we say “We asked them. They knew about it. It’s their loss. They must not care enough.”

Maybe they do care. Maybe they just don’t think that you care about them.

Here are 18 ways to help you help them attend an event.

  1. Put the invitation in their language, not yours.
  2. Ask some of them if your event is what they need. (It may be only what you and people like you need)
  3. Make sure invitations make sense to people who have been around for less than 5 years. (“We’ve done this every year” means that there may be decades of people who don’t understand.)
  4. Don’t make them feel guilty for missing, make them feel good for attending.
  5. Ask them to attend, don’t tell them it is happening.
  6. Ask someone who usually attends why they didn’t attend last time. If you accept “I had three other events” from a fan, maybe they had three other events, too.
  7. “Everyone needs this” is not an invitation.
  8. If you have a speaker, explain how his or her words will actually help them. Don’t tell them that “he’s always hilarious” or “she attracts huge crowds.”
  9. Don’t use yellow ink to letter the announcement.
  10. Use different announcements each week. Show that you care about asking different ways.
  11. Give people an email address for asking for more information.
  12. “I put all this effort into doing this for them and they didn’t show up”  means you didn’t talk to them.
  13. After the event, if “you just had to be there” is the only way to explain the value, then they may not attend next time either.
  14. Explain where the event is, when it is, and where to find more information.
  15. “When can I pick you up?” is more inviting than “we’re having an event.”
  16. Consider answering the real questions people have about events: How late  can I be? How anonymous can I be? What should I wear? How much do I need to know ahead of time? How much will I be embarrassed the first time I attend?
  17. If it matters that people attend, then personally, face-to-face, taking time to listen, invite them.
  18. If you don’t have the time to ask them personally, don’ t blame them for not taking the time to attend.

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5 responses to “please come to my event

  1. Your #5 is SO true…

  2. Thanks. I think many people struggle with it. Good points!

  3. Those are some very good suggestions and an excellent admonition to remember the clients point of view.
    Thank you

  4. Awesome post. I’m saving this and sending it two women who will be delighted to put your thoughts in action.

    Thanks!
    Justin McCullough
    Life is good!