Having the right people show up to your business meeting can make or break the event. When you craft a compelling and professional invitation, you persuade invitees of the importance of the meeting, the necessity for their attendance and the benefit to them.
Personalize the invitation if you’re sending individual letters. Use company letterhead or your logo if you are mailing preprinted cards. For email invitations, display your logo and website links. Address each person by name and have the correspondence come from a high-ranking company official, complete with signature.
Lead with a compelling opening sentence that explains what’s taking place and why the person is invited to attend. For example, “Your industry expertise makes you an ideal candidate for our new steering committee. I’d like to invite you to meet and mingle with the movers and shakers of our business community at a catered luncheon and presentation.”
Mention the exclusivity of the meeting, the topic to be discussed or the desired outcomes of the day. For example, “We’ve invited only a dozen top local CEOs to be part of this roundtable discussion. Our goal is to brainstorm business-friendly recommendations to deliver to the state legislature next year regarding the unique needs of entrepreneurs in our state. We want your voice to be heard.”
Note guest speakers, meals or networking opportunities that might appeal to busy professionals. For example, “We’ll hear from local candidates running for office and provide a period for Q&A. We’ll also provide a catered brunch and coffee bar.”
Include all the pertinent details of the meeting in a highlighted or bold section of your letter that stands out for the invitee. Vital information such as the date, time and location can get lost in the body of a letter. Put it all in one section for easy reference.
Request an RSVP by a specific date so you can plan accordingly. Give invitees several ways to confirm attendance, such as via email, company website, preprinted card or phone call.
Check community and local business calendars for conflicting events before scheduling a date and time. You don’t want to compete with a Chamber of Commerce function, Rotary club event or major conference or trade show.
Send out the invitations at least a month in advance with reminder notices two weeks out to give attendees time to add you to their schedule. If it’s a major meeting or conference in which people need to plan for travel and accommodations, give at least six months notice whenever possible.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.