How would your fans describe the communication you generate? Would they describe them as empowering or prescriptive? Information about sporting events often focuses on the restrictions. Understandably there will almost always be some entrant who requires all the exceptions to be spelled out. However the vast majority of the participants are there because you exist. They want you to succeed because you are among the few willing to cultivate their passion.
Take the following description from an upcoming cycling race:
Registration and number pick up will be held at the Galt House ONLY. There will be NO on-site registration or number pick-up….There are also pre-riding opportunities on Thursday and Friday between 12pm and 12:45pm. However ABSOLUTELY NO pre-riding is available while there is racing on the course and riders who are discovered on-course while racing is on-going are subject to immediate disqualification….if your team purchased team parking space you must pick up your parking pass at registration at the Galt House. No passes will be issued on-site and there will be no access to team parking areas without a pass.
This is all essential information but the tone appears worthy of a TSA screening experience. What if the same information was conveyed as if two reasonable adults were speaking to each other? A quick edit might allow for the following:
Remember to pick-up your race number at the Galt House, which is our official registration venue. To provide a fair and open course during each race we have scheduled a course inspection opportunity on Thursday and Friday between 12pm and 12:45pm. Team parking passes are available for purchase in advance of the event and in order to reduce vehicle congestion on race day, the passes will be ready for you at the registration pick-up. For your convenience all registration and parking passes are processed at the Galt House so you can focus on riding come race day. We are thrilled you have chosen to join us and please do not hesitate to contact our event team with any questions.
Same information, just a subtle shift. The second draft trusts the participants and understands that they share a passion for a sport that is on the fringe. One can always print all the necessary restrictions on the back side if required for legal reasons but why no lead with empowerment?
Empowering or prescriptive, which approach works best for you?