The First Thing They Hear

The First Thing They Hear

How you start the evening will have a direct effect on the rest of the night.  Consider that your guests have just been herded into the ballroom even though they were having a great time socializing with friends in the reception/silent auction area.  They arrive at their tables and lo and behold there’s a new group of people that they haven’t had a chance to say hello to so a new round of conversation starts again. If you know that your crowd takes forever to get seated, plan on having somebody settle them into their seats in a non-coercive method.  The first thing your guests hear should not be an order to stop socializing and pay attention. You simply want them to help you keep the “evening’s great program” on time. Once you’re under way consider having your first speaker not only welcome everybody, but thank them for their support.  I often suggest the three pillar approach.  “Here’s what we do”  “Here’s what we’ve done”  “Here’s what we want to do” followed by recognition that it’s all because of the people in this room.  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with giving your longtime supporters a little pat on the back, and showing your new attendees that your organization acknowledges and appreciates its supporters.

I do not however, recommend starting out the evening as a board president did on a recent event by saying “I know everybody hates auctions, so this one will be short”.

After that statement the crowd felt they had permission to disengage from the fundraising and just make it a loud party. Which they did!

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