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The Art of Communication

The Art of Communication

by Sandra Eagle

Going forward, communications about postponed events and new events should be crafted carefully, according to Katie Dunsworth Reiach, partner and co-founder of Toronto-based Talk Shop Media.

“The world has grown increasingly sensitive and concerned about large gatherings and timing is everything. If your event has not adjusted to meet current gathering guidelines or pivoted to take on
 a more virtual offering, you may be putting yourself at risk. There is still speculation about what events in the 2020/2021 year will look like. Avoid offering too many details before you know what is possible.” 


Dunsworth Reiach advises against speculation about when your event can be rescheduled unless you have a regional go-ahead. “Nothing will be certain for many months—and even years to come—on what events and public gatherings will become. You are better to move to a virtual event or plan for the following year than to continue to operate with uncertainty.”


In talking with delegates and stakeholders, Dunsworth Reiach recommends working from a master communication document that addresses essential questions and answers: Think of the most frequently asked questions and prepare short bullet-point responses. “You’ll then have to determine how proactive you are able to be with all of your related groups. If your event is less than six months away, communicating your current status is important. Then move into monthly updates of what each group needs to know and
do.” It’s also a good idea to provide contact information on your event’s web and social media pages on who to contact for questions as many delegates and suppliers may not read email communication and will be looking to proactively ask questions.


You should also plan for tough conversations where a stakeholder may demand a repayment or refund. “Get clear internally on what your policy is and how you will handle these difficult requests,” she says.


Read more on communicating through a crisis in Message Received, page 5 of Ignite's Special Edition: Safe Meetings.

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