The new school year starts off with a bang, doesn’t it? There’s always a flurry of new faces, new news, new activities and meetings and tasks to remember and attend and keep track of.
Unfortunately, as busy as you are, the parents at your school are oftentimes just as busy. This means that it can be hard to get their attention – even when it’s about something as important as their children. It’s not that they don’t want to listen; they just have a lot of stimulus coming at them from all directions.
Here are 5 ways to cut through the clutter and get your message heard:
1. Get a solid system of communication in place and stick with it. Parents can get understandably confused when some messages from school are relayed through email, while others come in via voicemail or MCIBOB (Memo Crumpled In Bottom of Backpack). You’re never quite sure what you’ve missed if you don’t reliably know where news is coming from. We’re really pleased with our new MemberHub signups feature for just this reason – it streamlines the perennial process of parent volunteer opportunities.
2. Don’t overcommunicate. We’re all about great communication here at MemberHub, of course, but sometimes too much info is just too much. Before sending out any kind of message to parents, be sure the information is both necessary and being delivered at the appropriate time. (A memo about the big end-of-year tag sale, for example, will be promptly forgotten if you send it out too far in advance.)
3. Consider publication. We’re not talking about a hard-copy newsletter or anything like that, unless that’s your thing, but rather a blog post or school-wide news blast that comes out at the same time every month or week. A consistent publication schedule effectively trains parents to keep an eye out for news at that time. If it works for the New York Times, it can work for you, too.
4. Make your communications as streamlined as possible. If you’re trying to organize a meeting with 3 parents, for example, it’s better to say, “Which of these 3 times [listed below] works best?” rather than “When is good for everyone?” And watch out for that dreaded “reply all.” Many times, it’s just not necessary and serves only to clutter people’s inboxes.
5. Keep it fun. Parents will be less likely to tune you out if you’re able to sprinkle your communications with humor, cute photos of their kids, or other fun stuff. This is not always possible, of course – the burst water main requiring emergency evacuation of the school is not a great time for knock-knock jokes! – but parents enjoy being entertained as much as anyone else, and shared chuckles can build a sense of camaraderie.
In general, remembering that you’re talking not just to parents, but to people, will make your communications much more enjoyable and effective on both sides.