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First off, welcome back from reading week! I hope you spent it sequestered in your lair, poring over your text books and ensuring your readiness for the finals which loom ever closer, rather than having fun, hanging out, or visiting places that are totally rad. None of that is true. A month ago, I wrote a post about some ways to motivate people to come to events, which can be one of the most challenging things in the planning process. Everyone is busy, after all. With assignments, work, personal stuff…It’s a deep, dark hole down which our time plummets like, well, like a Persian messenger.

Each of the last post’s methods were decreasingly cynical, and were mostly about marketing, developing careful tactics to deliver your message. Today though, I’ll talk about communication instead, and how you, as a person, can develop relationships that lead to better and more well-attended events.

Be Personal

Build personal relationships with the people you want to attend your events. Simply put, you’re way more likely to go to a party if someone you know is going. So make sure everyone knows you. More importantly, make sure you invite them. I know you sent out an email, but an email isn’t an invitation, it’s a notification. It says “Hey, there’s a thing happening.” Absolutely send out that email. But also come to people, individually, and say “Hey, we’re having a thing, you should come because we’ll have a good time.” In person would be best, but chat or email works too. You’re not just a society exec sending out a request, you’re a person taking the time to invite them to a night out. Not just everyone, but them. You appreciate being invited to things, and so will they. You also know that you can’t go to all the things, so if someone declines, it’s not a big deal. Everyone’s got a to-do list.

Believe

As is traditional with lists, I’ve saved the best for last. You have to believe in the event. You have to be excited about it, and I don’t mean that pretend excited that comes from too much coffee and too little sleep. You can tell the difference between that excitement and the real thing, and so can everyone else. If you let it wear on you, or if it seems like you’re just going through the motions, it’s going to show. Besides, if you aren’t excited about the event, how can you expect anyone else to be? The best way I’ve found of doing this is to work with people, and inspire each other. Remind each other of how great it could be, and of the things that each of you can do to make it that way. Find ways for other students to help, or have input. Make it their event too, because it belongs to them in a real sense. They’re essential to making it a success.

The ultimate goal is to bump your event up on people’s to-do list. Give them enough good reasons to go, and relax their concerns about being there, and they’ll show up. You’ll likely never get everyone, but aim for a steady improvement. Great events (even small ones), will have people talking about them with their friends. A community starts with these personal relationships though, and leads to great events. What do you do to encourage people to show up at your parties?

Jim Tigwell doesn’t often run events now, but when he does they play video games for charity. Ask him about Headshots from the Heart on Twitter.

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