Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Getting team members to events

Cheri writes…
I really enjoy your emails - very short, concise and helpful! I was wondering if you had any tidbits on how to diplomatically get team members to return calls, RSVP to events, etc. I have a decent sized team and am working on a regional meeting and they have known about it for almost 2 months - I did the Evite concept to make it easy and still many have not even responded. I have also done personal follow up calls and an email specifically asking if they will attend or not - no response. I hear this frustration with many others and wondered if there was diplomatic way to address it with the team. Quite honestly it is rude and I know we are in a non-RSVP society now, which is really frustrating. Any thoughts would be great!

Hi Cheri,
Thanks for your compliments - we are glad to be of help.
As to your challenge, what we CAN say is “been there, done that” and we have been in your shoes many times. It IS a “non-RSVP” society and yes, it is very frustrating to say the least. Here are some of our thoughts on this topic.

Firstly, we always say in this business, “It's the same job, same job, same job.” If nothing else, your frustration will help you empathize with your next hostess who goes through the same thing with her friends! Use this as a personal example when coaching her that people do NOT RSVP and that the personal touch is very important.

Secondly, in terms of getting people to events…this is a process and a culture that you as a leader need to create within your team. “Attend everything” needs to be your mantra from the day your new recruit signs the paperwork. Frequently a potential asks, “is it a requirement that I attend meetings?” When accompanied with body language like a shake of the head or roll of the eyes, we find ourselves saying ANYTHING just to get them to sign. Heaven forbid we set an expectation…(PLEASE just FILL OUT THE PAPERWORK)…“Oh no, meetings are helpful, but not required.” The end result can be the frustration you are now experiencing when we try to turn the culture around so-to-speak.

Thirdly, when planning events, distribute the workload LIKE CRAZY. Divide EVERYTHING up into bite-sized pieces. If people have a job, they will come!

Evites can be easily ignored. People need to be sold on coming to an event. Just like we tell our hostesses…their enthusiasm will come across when they personally talk to people. Keep phoning and give them a reason they won't want to miss this event. Again, it is the same skill we teach our hostesses to use. Think about the person you are calling and why they personally will benefit from attending this event. Keep phone messages upbeat and excited and be sure you tell them that it just won't be the same unless they are there. Stay positive and avoid making people feel guilty because they haven't responded.

Finally, some strategies to use “post-event” in order to ensure better attendance for your next meeting.

1) Sing the praises of the event like crazy. Sending emails that talk about how FUN and exciting the meeting will leave people kicking themselves for not coming.

2) Ask those in attendance to share (via email) 2 of the best tips they received.

3) AVOID re-enacting the event. When team members call to ask how the event was, stay upbeat and positive. Tell them the event was UNBELIEVABLE and how you will look forward to seeing them at the next meeting! DO NOT take time and energy to re-present the information. If you do this, why should they ever attend events themselves?

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