How to Invite People and Get a Sell-Out Crowd at Your Next Event

Entice them with a value-added experience.

Often an invitation says Please join us.

That phrase makes me cringe.

Who wants to go to an event where the host organization is begging for attendance?

Here’s how to write an engaging invitation.

  1. Place the attendee at the center of the event. Use the words YOU and YOUR as often as possible. For example: You will learn proven tactics.
  2. Show how the event aligns with her agenda and interests.
  3. Create a sense of exclusivity, where the content offers up-to-the-minute industry and market information, a look behind the scenes or an insider’s view. This also suggests that the member will miss out on timely insights if she does not attend.
  4. Mention the opportunity to get close to a BIG NAME in the business.
  5. Use active, dynamic verbs: HEAR, LEARN, MASTER, UNDERSTAND.
  6. Make the event interactive with a Question and Answer segment. For example, “Share a what-if scenario about a friend’s company” or “Practice the tips presented in the workshop.” Plus networking with peers and connecting with colleagues, of course.
  7. Indicate the DAY of the week and the DATE to make it easy for guests to check their calendars; some attendees have scheduled obligations, such as a monthly meeting on the third Wednesday, and will be unable to attend.
  8. Keep the event title in the subject line short, between 60 and 65 characters, so it can easily be read on a mobile phone, which is where more than 60% of email is read.
  9. After you have a draft, go back and make the first sentence stronger to capture the reader’s attention and prompt the desire to learn more.
  10. Adhere to brand standards for the size of the font and its color, preferably black (dark) letters on a white (light) background.

EXAMPLE: Consider this invitation to a lunch of the Legal Special Interest Group of a professional membership organization. Here’s the final version, and below it the initial draft.
Event: Open Lunch for Legal Special Interest Group
Break out of your chained-to-your-desk lunch routine. Members of the LSIG will informally discuss top legal and regulatory issues, plus current market developments. Bring a question or topic, share perspectives and tap into your peers’ collective knowledge. Network and take part in a lively discussion, the first in a series of open lunches.

This event is free and places are limited, so please register promptly.
Event: Legal Special Interest Group -Open Lunch
Please join us for an informal open forum discussion and networking.

(1) Legal/Regulatory Update,
(2) Current Developments and
(3) Open discussion.

This is the first of a series of Open Lunches the LSIG will be hosting this year. So come and join us for a bite to eat and enjoy a lively and interesting discussion. This event is free but places are limited.

          Which event would you attend?

This Month’s Tip

Four DON’Ts to improve your invitations:

Do NOT say Please join us. Do not beg for attendance. A reference to US puts the reader outside the circle. In her mind, she is IN the circle. Do not alienate her.

Do NOT mention our distinguished panel of experts. If they are not experts, why are they speaking at the front of the room? Attendees expect to meet the best in the business.

After initially naming the sponsor of the event, do NOT promote that company. It is an organization’s event, not a sponsor’s event. The company is welcome to review the invitation for accuracy, not for approval.

Do NOT use reverse type (light color on dark background), which is harder to read.


Ready to draft an invitation that will attract a sell-out crowd? Contact me at , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s discuss how putting the reader at the center of the invitation will put more attendees in the room.

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