If You Want People to Attend

A commandment commands recipients to take a certain action.

  • Come to
  • Drop by
  • Do this
  • Do that

Watch your tone when you're tempted to issue a commandment in your email messages or newsletters.
An announcement announces that something happened or will happen.

  • The show opens Friday and runs through December 16.
  • The sale starts at 9 a.m. on Black Friday.

Sometimes announcements are all that is needed – there's nothing to invite people to. Yet many people announce and forget to invite!
An invitation invites recipients to an event and encourages their attendance.

  • I hope you will come . . .
  • It would be lovely to see you at . . .
  • It won't be much fun if you're not there.
  • Please drop by if you can . . .

If you want people to show up, let them know you value their attendance.
Invite, don't command.
Are you announcing, inviting, or commanding?

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7 thoughts on “If You Want People to Attend”

  1. love your blog and I get so many great ideas here. Don’t agree with this one however. A Call To Action is an important part of marketing. Agree it shouldn’t be rude, but the word “please” keeps it from that. Just announcing doesn’t cut it. I used to just announce (cause I didn’t want to be bossy) – starting using Call to Actions and my responses shot UP. Keep up the good work – you always make me think!

    1. Kim: Thanks for chiming in. I agree that every message needs a CTA – I write about that often.
      But . . . Don’t you agree that a call to action can be an invitation?
      And I really am talking about invitations here – invitations to events.

  2. Alyson, very thoughtful advice. I think what I hate about car commercials (and others) is that they command. That’s so annoying! I love the idea of inviting one’s audience to take action. For most of us for most things, that hits the mark dead on. Now I need to remember this.

  3. The command implies a solo action…”Come to”… says to me, by myself…The invitation: ” I hope you will come”, implies that when I get there, you will be waiting for me, that I will be welcomed & not alone…The invitation appeals to me because I think I am going to connect with the artist…The command tells me that I may arrive but be ignored…(The Cheers song is running through my head- ‘You want to go where everybody knows your name…’-which leads me to wonder, is it beneficial to let people know who all will be there, among the guests?)

  4. I handed a postcard invitation for an art show to my hairdresser, and she looked at
    it and said, “Is this a business card?” I realized that she, like many people, weren’t used to art show invitations and didn’t know what it was. Ever since then I have made it clear with the wording, “You are invited…”

    1. Excellent point, Rani! I agree and have found the same to be true. Just because we send a postcard with dates on it doesn’t mean that people know they are invited to come.

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