Usually, that’s the easy part especially if it’s in memo/email format where all one has to do is complete the ‘To’, ‘From’ and ‘Subject’ fields. The challenging part is the why, when and how.

Who, what, when, where, why and how.

The five Ws and one H are such a basic structure of effective communication that we easily ignore some of them and the communication becomes lopsided. So today, I go back to the basics of selling say, the end of year party or such other event. Unfortunately, basics are boring. For instance, the prescribed way of holding a car’s steering wheel is to place one hand on either side of it, without crossing them; and keep them there whether turning the wheel this way or that. Any licenced driver knows this; yet, how many do it? Instead, drivers get creative, doing what they find coming naturally to them or what looks ‘cool’-like placing one hand firmly atop the steering wheel. This seemingly innocuous shift from the basics can seriously impede a driver’s ability to control his vehicle in the event of an emergency.


So, in your invitation to staff or whomever you are selling an upcoming event to, remember to tell them who is doing the inviting, who is being invited and what the invitation is about. Usually, that’s the easy part especially if it’s in memo/email format where all one has to do is complete the ‘To’, ‘From’ and ‘Subject’ fields. The challenging part is the why, when and how. It matters where you put the why; it must demonstrate cause and effect. For instance, “Management cordially invites you to the end of year party”, doesn’t say ‘why’; “…because of an exemplary performance this year,” or, “…because it is important to let loose”, does. Placing the reason for the invitation (cause) away from the effect (end of year party) dilutes its impact and can be seen as an afterthought.

Mention the day

Next, it is more common to find a date shared as 16th December from 9.00am, than Saturday, 16th December, from 9.00am. What’s the difference? The mention of the day -Saturday, in this case. Why is that important? Because, when I ask to meet you on, say, 23rd, your immediate response will likely be, “Which day will that be?” We confirm dates faster when we know the day than when not. If Sunday is blocked out as say, family day, 17th December won’t make much sense to you but, Sunday, 17th December will likely see you immediately respond, “Sorry, I can’t make it Sunday.” (Notice, not 17th, but Sunday)

And the how

What about the how? When it is outside the premises we always remember the how; for instance, that, “Transport to the venue (where) will be provided for all staff, and pick-up will be from the cafeteria.” If the end of year party is within the compound, it is easy to forget the how. After all, you reason, “They know here it is”. And you’re right. Only, how we will make sure it starts at 3pm is because, “Supervisors are encouraged to release staff at 2.30pm.”

Who, what, when, where, why and how. Do you have them in your pitch about the end of year party?

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