You know better than anyone that managing an event is like a juggling act. Something’s gotta give, but please don’t let that something be communication. Effective communication at your event is crucial to provide a great experience, not only for your guests and attendees but also for your hardworking staff and volunteers! Here are 5 common communication pitfalls at events and how to avoid them!
1. Who ya gonna call?!
Imagine you’re volunteering at a large event and you need to get in touch with someone in charge. Maybe there has been an emergency, maybe you’ve run out of supplies, there are numerous reasons why you would need to connect with your supervisor or manager in a pinch. But what do you do if you haven’t been told who you are reporting to? In order to act quickly in a situation like this, it is important that volunteers are aware of who their primary point of contact is!
Here’s a tip! Set up a chain of command; schedule supervisors who are responsible for a particular group of volunteers. That way you, as the event planner, are not being bombarded with questions throughout the event and your volunteers know exactly who to get in touch with. Tools like InitLive allow you to designate Supervisors for your volunteers and give them quick and easy access to contact their Supervisor or Event Manager!
2. Hello from the other side!
Being provided a radio at an event is like finding a golden ticket! Radios are expensive and there are never enough to go around. This leaves a large group of volunteers on the outskirts when it comes to communication. Maybe you’ve already tackled communication pitfall #1 and your volunteers know exactly who they need to contact, but do they know how to reach you if they can’t leave their post?
Provide easy access for your volunteers. Yes, radios are expensive, but there’s a tool that most of your event team never leave the house without: their cell phones! Set up a group chat for volunteers through tools like WhatsApp, provide them with your cell phone number, or use an event app to manage your communication on event day!
3. He said, she said
If you don’t have any group chats or event apps in place to help manage your communication on event day, you will end up playing broken telephone. With limited access to walkie-talkies and communication tools at your event, messages get passed along and it is inevitable that information will be miscommunicated or misinterpreted. Most of your volunteers will have their cell phones with them, so there’s just no excuse to prevent volunteers from receiving clear directions.
Avoid this pitfall by having a plan for the communication at your event. If you know in advance that not everyone will be able to have a radio, make adjustments so that the rest of the team can still have valid and up-to-date information quickly. Your volunteers will be more confident in the information that they receive, and you’ll feel more confident in their capabilities as a result.
4. Keep it hush-hush
Great, so we’ve established how limiting communication can be a pitfall at your event, but maybe that isn’t always a bad thing. There’s a reason why the radios you have are often distributed to your Supervisors and Team Leads instead of your general pool of volunteers. Sometimes there are messages that shouldn’t be shared over a loud walkie-talkie at a crowded event.
Instead of letting your attendees overhear the details of an event crisis or learn the exact time and place your VIP will be arriving, use a text-based communication tool that allows you to target your message to a customized group of volunteers. This is the only foolproof way to make sure that your event’s private information stays private.
5. Too little, too late
Don’t push communication to the back-burner when planning events. Volunteers like to know that they can ask questions and find information about the event they’re volunteering for before they arrive onsite. Make sure that volunteers know what they can expect on event day, including where to go.
The solution to this communication pitfall is simple: communicate early and often. Volunteers will feel valued and informed and will be more eager to help make your event a success!
The communication surrounding your event can make or break the experience for both volunteers and attendees. Volunteers will be empowered when there is effective communication. This reflects directly on the guests and attendees. They will see your event running smoothly and be pleased when volunteers can answer any questions they might have. Communicating with your event team doesn’t have to be a headache anymore, provide the best experience by using event technology to manage the communication at your events!
Looking for more tips on how to enhance communication for your event? Check out our free infographic on 'How to Enhance Event Communication' here!
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