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What to do when people won’t R.S.V.P.

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in Admins,Leaders & Managers,Management Training,Office Management

Etiquette-conscious admins report that people simply don’t R.S.V.P. anymore. As a result, event organizers find it hard to order food and other supplies.

One admin sought advice on the Admin Pro Forum (www.prapforum.typepad.com/), asking, “How should I handle this in a courteous and professional way?”

Here’s what other admins suggest:

Make it easier for invitees to reply by using Outlook or Lotus Notes meeting invitations. “The recipients will receive an e-mail with the information, and it will ask them to accept, decline or tentatively accept.” — Miriah

Order extra food, then show your boss why you spent the money. “I generally order for one more than expected. Then I give the Lotus Notes status list to my boss, so he can see who responded and who didn’t. If it is someone under his management, he talks to them about responding to invitations.” — Dolores

Provide lunch or dinner only to those who send an R.S.V.P. “When I started saying that food could only be guaranteed if they responded, I got 100% responses. Seems their desire to eat overcame their fear of commitment.” — Bernie

Reward those who R.S.V.P. with parking passes. “I work with a large medical group (230-plus physicians), and I found the best thing is to send an e-mail telling them that parking passes will only be sent to those who R.S.V.P. It is the best trick I have tried yet!” — Michelle

Send out invitations more than once. “I work at a university and invite students, staff members and faculty to a luncheon once a year. In the e-mail invitation, I state that they need to R.S.V.P. to reserve their seat, as space is limited. Putting this statement in has greatly improved my responses. I then send a reminder to those I have not heard from. Then I send a third invitation to the last of the holdouts and tell them that this is their last chance. Out of 80 invitees last year, I only had three fail to R.S.V.P.” — Nancy

Make a personal phone call. “We had this problem and started calling people who did not respond to the e-mail. Not a single person complained about it being pushy, and our attendance jumped substantially. Most people appreciated the more personal touch, and often thanked us for the reminder.” — Mark

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