If you’re planning an event, there is lots to think about, lots to organise.
Taking time to include communications planning as part of your overall strategy means that communication is integral and effective, not an afterthought that takes time but adds nothing.
In this article, our guest Sarah Browning – freelance internal communications specialist – shares her advice on following a communications planning framework to help to support a successful event delivery.
Step 1 – Why?
What is the purpose of communication for your event?
This will vary at different stages. First, you will want to communicate what you are planning to engage and involve your stakeholders, including exhibitors and speakers if you have them. Later you’ll want to communicate to promote your event to students, so that you get full attendance. And after the event, communication will be about celebrating the success and promoting the benefits achieved.
Step 2 – Who?
There will be many different audiences depending on what you are trying to achieve. It’s important that you give thought to the different groups, what they are interested in, what motivates them and so on. This will help you decide what information to share, with whom and when.
Step 3 – What?
In most cases people are most interested in what’s in it for them, but this will vary depending on their role in the event.
Exhibitors will want to know things like their brief, who they should pitch their materials at and how many attendees there are likely to be. They will want to know the logistics of the venue and their location within it. Students will be more interested in who they will meet and the kind of advice they might get.
Step 4 – When?
Your overall event plan will be key in identifying communication points. For example, if you know when you need to print your event brochure, you can work out when you need to ask exhibitors for their information to include.
Step 5 – How?
Knowing who you are trying to reach and why will make it much easier to decide how to communicate with your audience.
If you need to get consistent information to a large group, a digital channel or email might be the best choice. If you need two-way communication with a small number of key stakeholders, then picking up the phone to them is more likely to be the way to go. There are no right or wrong methods, just more or less effective ones for achieving your purpose.
Effective communication won’t solve all your event management challenges, but it might help you avoid some of them in the first place.
This article was written by Sarah Browning, freelance internal communications specialist
Sarah specialises in working with charities, HE institutions and other not-for-profit organisations and has over 13 years’ experience in the sector. She works with national and local organisations to help them develop the most effective ways of communicating with their staff, volunteers, students and members. Read more of her articles at www.browningyork.com