Last weekend I headed over to Sutton for the annual (and excellent) Liberal Democrat summer party, this time graced by Mike Thornton MP (victor of the Eastleigh by-election) as the guest speaker.
Yet the main reason I went was neither the guest speaker, the excellent food nor the great venue. It was simply that I had received a direct, personal email a few days previously asking me if I was coming again this year.
I’d missed the previous mentions of the 2014 date, so any reminder would have been timely – but a personal request that elicited a personal commitment to go also meant I didn’t change my plans when I realised I was double-booked and the weather forecast for the day looked dodgy. As it turned out it was the forecast, not the weather, that was dodgy.
Of course there is useful technology that can help with the publicising of events and the solicitations of commitments to come (including making paying in advance easy – a good way to get people to then stick with their plans). Technology is also useful when trying to do such things on a large scale.
But at heart, you don’t need technology. What you do need is a desire to make an event a success and a genuine personal interest in getting previous or possible attendees to come this time round.
Have that, and you’ll get them coming even if your technology is a simple set of personally composed emails. Don’t have that, and even the flashiest technology won’t rescue you.