Updated in 2018 for relevance.
Communication is one of the most important aspects of being an effective event planner. Being successful in event management is multifaceted, it is much more than just communicating with the people on your team as there are many pieces to the puzzle when pulling off an impeccable event. Knowing just how to speak and communicate with people well is a skill that takes time and practice, and it is one of the most useful traits in the realm of event management. Incorporating effective communication methods is a must.
Why is it important to communicate with others?
Once an event is scheduled—and the dates and times are set in stone—you must deliver. This is precisely why you have to communicate effectively with every single person in the event planning process. Building an event communication plan allows everyone you work with to have clear expectations of their tasks, and increases productivity. Productivity is of the utmost importance when working in event management due to tight time constraints and deadlines. Without effective communication management, your event could fall apart at the seams.
Here are some tips from us and a few industry experts on the most effective communication methods to save you a few headaches for your next event:
Calling Instead of Texting
An effective way to open the lines of event communication is calling instead of texting or sending an email. We live in the digital century where the primary form of communication is text-based. While fast and easy to check on-the-go, a voice will add a personal touch that a text will never be able to get. Also, when time-sensitive issues come up as they oftentimes do, it is extremely important to have a strong communication plan for immediate real-time updates, and a phone call is the fastest way to prepare for, communicate and remedy such problems.
“I believe that phone calls, and not so much texting, are the quickest, clearest modes of communication. We’ve grown so accustomed to fast communications, with texts and emails, that we sometimes forget that the humble phone call is a powerful tool to help you get the info you’re seeking or continue to build a rapport with clients, suppliers, and community members long after an event is over.”
Writing Efficient Emails
Of course, this is not to say that emails are not valuable; they are still crucial to efficient communication management. We all know everything would come to a halt without them. When drafting up emails, be sure to include all pertinent information in a concise email to avoid a lot of back and forth—making sure that all the information that you are sending is correct will go a long way. Sending lots of emails not only wastes valuable time, but can also be a leading cause of miscommunication as information may get buried or left out of the email. If you get your conversation threads confused in your inbox, try unthreading your emails; this allows you to read each sent and replied email instead of having them all intertwined in one chain.
"Email is the base form of communication. We are always emailing someone about something. It is extremely important to keep this communication efficient and effective. Don't CC everyone you know from the company on the email. This is worst as most people think someone else will respond and you end up with nothing. Email each person if you need but don't get caught in the mass email chain"
By providing frequent and professional interactions, you will be able to build strong interpersonal relationships even outside of communication events. It is equally important to interact with your team as it is to interact with your clients. At times, small interactive gestures like checking in can go a long way as it builds rapport and creates lasting relationships. By understanding the needs of your client and team, it allows you to be responsive when things go haywire and be able to quickly put out any potential fires before they even happen. Effective communication methods create a sense of cohesion and reciprocal respect through continued interaction.
“As efficient as all the new communication methods may be, as quick and responsive our world may be, I believe that often a first contact in person can be crucial to build a lasting relationship with partners, clients or other key people. Shaking hands at least once is the best way to open doors that need to be kept open by the most efficient usage of all existing communication tools.”
Many times in PR and event management you have to communicate effectively not only internally but externally: this could be with the caterers or photographers, and follow up is particularly crucial. Right from the beginning, it is important to set clear and concise expectations to keep everyone liable for what they are providing for the event. Leaving room for error in your event communication could jeopardize your event success.
At times, especially with busy third party vendors, you will need to follow up in order to ensure that you will get what you were promised. By doing so in a timely and professional manner, oftentimes people will appreciate the reminder and communication. Especially in event management, assuming that people will remember is not always the best strategy, it is always an effective communication method to follow up at least once to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Call To Actions
Never be shy to allocate certain tasks to others, you definitely cannot do everything yourself! For instance, if you have to meet with your F&B provider and make sure the seating arrangement is correct, there is no way you can be in two places at once. This is where communicating with your team and providing call to actions helps out tremendously! Using call to action words will set the tone of what’s expected. Some of these words include: using ‘you’ and ‘we’ rather than always saying ‘I’. In turn, make sure to always show your sincere appreciation for those that do help out when it is necessary. Taking that extra step to let your team know that stepping up does not go unnoticed will reaffirm their desire to go that extra step.
At the end of the day, communication is always the key to success and anyone who does not communicate effectively with those that they work with is doomed to fail. Remember these top effective communication methods:
- Follow up with clients and employees so no one drops the ball
- Interact and engage with people to build rapport and lasting relationships
- Create efficient and effective emails so everyone is on the same page
Learn quickly that you are not able to do it all and trust others enough to allocate tasks to them. And most importantly, remember instead of ‘me’ event management it is a ‘we’!
Event planning can be a very stressful job with too many moving parts at once, but effectively communicating with your team and clients can make your job much simpler. Once you can see why it is important to communicate effectively with others, your productivity will soar to new heights.