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Effectively Communicating within the Council

Effective Communication

Your council has a lot of events and programs planned, but in order for these activities to be successful, you need to get Brother Knights to attend. One of the most important ways to maximize your council’s attendance at council functions is to effectively communicate with council members about these opportunities.

Personal Communication is still Best
The most effective way to invite your Brother Knights to events is by direct communication. Personal, word-of-mouth, invitations statistically net the highest positive response rate. Sometimes these invitations can be made via a phone call or text, or a personal message via email or social media. However, direct personal communication is best. Your council can have an officer assigned to specific members to give them in-person reminders about events – maybe they are in the same college classes and see each other frequently, or they live in the same dorm or apartment complex. Personally inviting and reminding people will increase event attendance.

Mass Communication must be Timely
Mass communication works when done in a timely manner. A reminder email the night before or morning of an event does not give members sufficient time to arrange their calendars to attend. An email sent one week or more ahead of time offers this leeway. If you send an event announcement well in advance, then a reminder the night before or day of the event is both appropriate and encouraged.

Council Email
We encourage college councils to maintain their own email address for the council. Some councils may be able to get this through their college or university. If not, consider a free email provider such as Google. A council that has its own email account allows the grand knight to easily access information on activities of previous years. For instance, when it’s time to hold an annual event with a local charity, the history of email messages gives a record of the charity’s contact person, as well as the tasks undertaken by the council to prepare for the event. Finally, when using a provider like Google, members can utilize tools such as the calendar feature that can sync with their personal calendars, as well as the file storage to store documents related to council business such as posters, alumni contacts, and meeting minutes.

Diversify Your Communication
Use different mediums to transmit messages. For example, an email is best when announcing an event so that you can include the details and any relevant links to sign-up pages. When sending a reminder, however, feel free to use a mass text messaging service, send a tweet, or make a post on your council’s Facebook page. These simple reminders can be scheduled in advance and sent 15 minutes to a half hour before an event to remind members to attend.

If you throw all of your communication eggs into one basket, it’s easy for members to miss an event opportunity. For example, a council that communicates solely via a private Facebook group about a Lenten event will likely fail to reach members who may have given up Facebook for Lent. Also, while some members may find time to read lengthy  email messages about upcoming events, others may prefer brief notices sent via text. Finally, some members only respond to personal invitations or attend only when a close friend is also present.

Bonus: Communication with Campus
Many of these strategies can be implemented when holding council events open to the greater campus community. However, you’ll also want to utilize other communication strategies as well. Posters for larger events greatly help in promoting and advertising efforts. Additionally, if your campus has electronic signs or boards on campus, inquire if you can get your event featured there. With the permission of your pastor, promote your event after student Masses. Utilize members of your council who assist in the dorms, especially as hall president or resident assistants, as their leadership role allows them to invite and encourage participation.