I get invited to tons of events each week. I don’t think I am exaggerating all that much. And I’d say about 99 percent of these invites require an RSVP. I’m okay with that. I get it. People need to know how much rubber chicken to order and, hopefully, how many bottles of wine. They need to set up tables – no one wants to stand for hours. Bottom line, they just need to know who’s coming. And don’t even get me started if they run out of dessert because a few someones forgot to RSVP.
Lately, I find trying to get RVSPs for events has become a real uphill battle. I know people are busy. But it just takes a minute to check your calendar and then respond. I went to the experts to find out what I’m doing incorrectly as the RSVP taker. I need that head count for the dessert count!
So why do people skip the response stage? I found a website that has great insight but also uses a lot of expletives in its title. So we won’t mention the site…..only its research. Some people just find the burden of responding overwhelming. So they put it off until it’s too late. A little insecure maybe? Lazy? Don’t know. Just know they won’t be responding — ever. Then there are those who don’t want to commit because they think a better offer might come along. Nice.
And some people are just disorganized. You mailed an invite? It’s buried in a pile of junk mail at home or at the office. You emailed it to them? Probably got lost in a sea of spam – or so the recipients claim. Phone messages? And still no RSVPs. It just doesn’t fit into their world order….or, rather, disorder.
So what’s the advice for me to get those RSVPs rolling in? Let’s start with Emily Post, Queen of Etiquette. She said: “Anyone receiving an invitation with an RSVP is obligated to reply. You see what she said? Obligated. And who wants to question Emily about etiquette? Not me! Okay, so Emily is on my side. I found other suggestions; one of them said this: Before you send out the invites, send out save-the-date notices. Do that. Several times.
What about posting on Facebook? We do. The only maddening part is that Facebook has three responses: Going, not going and maybe. Maybe is going to mess up the dessert count.
One tip was sad. It claims that many people do not know what RSVP means. Seriously? They recommend you consider the wording: “Please reply” to eliminate any confusion.
I guess one thing I also learned through this research is that some people can run into extenuating circumstances that prevent them from RSVPing on time. So give them the benefit of the doubt. And reserve your disappointment for those with an on-going “can’t be bothered” attitude. I hope I can turn my RSVP challenge around. It’s all about ordering enough dessert.
Lynne Conlan is Executive Director of the Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce. Call her at 813-634-5111, or email email@example.com.