In a Nutshell
Creating communication mechanisms to get information to trip participants and to promptly respond to their questions
After the group is selected and deposits submitted, communication mechanisms should be set up to:
- Share critical information
- Build an educational foundation and shared understanding for the trip
- Build a cohesive group dynamic
From the moment participants are accepted for the trip, they should be in constant communication with the group and trip leaders. This can be as simple as posting links in a Facebook group to news articles or information sources for pre-trip reading, or sending out reminders of upcoming deadlines. As details of the itinerary fall into place, build excitement by sharing the news with participants.
All trip leaders will interact with participants, but there should be a communications leader on the leadership team who is the primary communicator with participants (requesting information, fielding questions, sharing updates.)
- Email is the most effective way to sending out critical pieces of information; but if there are too many emails, people will tune out, so use email judiciously. Make each email count: revise, check for errors, make it as comprehensive as possible so you will not need to email again for the next week or two.
- A Google or Yahoo group is a good way to facilitate group discussions and get questions answered.
- A Facebook group is an excellent way to share news and information as well as to facilitate more informal interactions as the group coheres before the trip. It’s also a great tool to help the group share experiences during the trip.
- A WhatsApp group is also a great way to keep everyone updated with deadlines and requests, especially while in Israel when there is Wi-Fi.
The important thing is to keep the various communications channels open and active, and to encourage participants to get to know each other and become more informed about the trip themes.
TIP: Establish guidelines for using the various communications mechanisms. For instance, a Facebook group is an ideal forum for participants to get to know each other more informally. You may want group messaging limited to a one-way flow of need-to-know information from the leaders to participants. Email and personal messaging, on the other hand, are good for two-way communication and for participants to ask personal questions.