Who needs email tips from an event planning software guy? Event planners do. Event communication happens via email. Phone calls are nearly extinct, and you can’t express a vision through text messages. Whether we’re talking wedding planners or corporate event experts, email is where it’s at.
But ho-lee-crap some people don’t have any email skills at all. I mean, you’re smashing it out the park, but others need some real help. And I’m here to give it.
See, I trained customer support teams on email for about ten years. I’ve sent a few hundred thousand emails to customers and clients, and so I know what pisses them off, and what wins them over. I’ve got those email tips for event planners on lock.
Why Email Process Matters
You’re busy. No, that’s not even close to accurate. You’re wholly slammed, your inbox is overflowing, and the event is in about three days. Speed is of the essence. So, you fire off a one-liner response to the vendor.
But they don’t get it, do they? Thus begins a seven email thread. Or maybe it’s 10pm at night, and you’re in your PJs, sipping Ovaltine and waiting for that restful slumber when your client emails with a question about the balloons. You respond, and not ten minutes go by before your phone’s blowing up like Paris Hilton in the 90s.
In my experience, an effective email takes about five full minutes to write, if you know what you’re writing about. A lousy email only takes two minutes, but those emails add up fast. Without clarity, assurance, and information, the bad emails are basically like wet gremlins. They multiply and wreak havoc. And if that reference is too dated for you, please go watch Gremlins, but not the sequel. You’ll thank me later.
As someone who managed an email-only customer support team, I can say that those who followed this process were more productive and had happier customers. And it’s easy.
Related article: A Movie Producer On The Planning Process
A Lightning Round of Email Tips For Event Planners
It’s the little things that make all the difference, in your job, and in mine. Event planners have an eye for detail, and that can, and should, extend to your emails with clients and vendors. So here is a lightning round of email tips that won’t take your time, but make a subtle impact.
You are yourself
Like Ada Lovelace, “you possess a most singular combination of qualities.” So please, write “I” instead of “we” in your emails.
Clients and vendors want to work with you, the person, the genius planner, the creative, the human. You’re representing your business, but you’re still singular.
Questions Go First
You, me, and my cat all share the same defect. We’re all poor readers. So if you need an answer to a question, it should be the first line or near it, and it should get its own line. Bold it if you’d like, too.
Even distracted readers will see the question if you put it first. You can always add context afterward.
Signatures have no heart
When you receive a typed and printed letter that is signed with real, blue ink, it’s almost unbelievable. It’s a subtle sign of effort. In electronic communication, an email, using an auto-inserted signature, is fast but bland and adds nothing. (Wait, how’d we get onto fast food?)
Taking the time to write a “cheers, Dean” at the end is a small gesture but indicates care and endorsement of the letter’s content. Just like a pen and ink signature does.
Bullets are the Best
If you ever need to get more than one thing across, then the only way is bullet points. Our brains need visual guidance, which is why sub-headings are essential in a post like this. The same thing goes for email.
Our brains love lists. But there’s a twist.
We’re agreed that bullet points are supposed to help us process information. But depending on the vertical line spacing, sometimes the space around the lines is minimized. This can actually have the opposite effect than what we’d intended.
There’s an easy, neat trick. Simply hit shift+command and force an extra line between each bullet point.
Long paragraphs are unreadable
When reading Tolstoy, long paragraphs are alright. But on the web, and in our inboxes, two sentences per paragraph is the ideal. One sentence is cool too. Three is somewhat pushing it.
Once you add in the mobile device element, which is where we often read our emails, four sentences or more is practically unreadable. Throw in line breaks unless you’re trying to baffle your clients, or you’d like your vendors to miss an important detail.
The Truth Behind Every Question
In many cases, the client or vendor won’t know the right question to ask, which leads to long email threads and frustration. Figure out the reason behind the issue to minimize email reply volume and make recipients happier.
When a bride asks what time the venue is available, they might really be asking whether they’ll have access for the first look photoshoot there. Or when the client wonders about the printed materials, they might be looking for an update in general.
If you understand the why behind the what, you’ll reassure clients, help suppliers feel valued, and anticipate future questions before they’re even written.
But we’re not done yet. There are more email tips for event planners to come.
Related article: The Details Every Day-Of Timeline Should Contain
Tony! Toni! Toné! And Tone!
First Gremlins, now this? Yeah, these email tips are getting real eighties. Whatever, the eighties were rad. Fight me. And this section is all about tone. Email tone.
Professionally, you’ll receive only two types of emails. Curious and grumpy. The curious email is easy.
Curious emails are emails in which the writer is asking you for information on the event’s tasks, updates on the day-of timeline, or basic how-to questions. Your tone can be relaxed, informal, and even a bit cheeky. Emojis, slang, and personality can shine.
Grumpy emails happen when something has gone wrong. Your client might be feeling ignored, or the hairdresser set someone’s hair on fire with a curling iron. The tone ought to be reassuring, calming, and totally in control.
I’m always wary of over-apologizing as sincerity can be in doubt. Reassurance beats obsequiousness, and your clients are looking for solutions, not regrets.
This all seems obvious, but often the casual tone can creep into the crisis scenario, and it never ends well. It can trigger a loss of trust that can be difficult to regain. Similarly, an overly formal response to a casual request for information often reads as standoffish.
Show Your Work
This ain’t math class, but there’s a reason that teachers insist on showing your work. It’s so they can gauge how hard you studied, even if you didn’t get it totally right at first. And when it comes to email tips for event planners, the same thing goes.
When you email a client update, why not let them know a little about your process. If something went awry behind the scenes, and you fixed it, why not let them know?
Clients can only appreciate how hard you’re working for them if they know how hard you’re working.
Your Emails Need Artificial Sweetener
Tone, facial expression, body language. These vital human signals are all missing in your primary medium of communication. So add them in, albeit consciously, into your emails. You’ll be able to convey meaning, which means you, your suppliers, and your clients will sleep so much better, too, free of misunderstandings.