Let's talk about the order of with whom you should communicate. Because the order of conversations is just as important as how you do it.
Why? Because it's all about ensuring you are 1) speaking the facts, 2) respecting the people who mean the most and 3) not biting the hand that feeds you.
Here's my list, in order of with whom you should communicate first. Keep in mind, this is just a general guideline and not a rule. It may alter slightly in different markets and with different events, but the overall sentiment of the order is important.
Make sure you are in constant communication. You both should be on the same page. If you're not on the same page of what you should be doing, try to get yourselves on the same page.
Don't neglect the people in-house who are working to make it all happen. This includes medical personal and operations people who need to know what's happening.
Yes, we are up this high on the list. Your registration partner is in constant communication with other events, officials and decision makers. We have a pulse on what's going on and understand best practices to reduce blowback. Use us for advice or feedback.
Sponsors don't want to feel like they are the last to learn about any news. Talk to them before you communicate with your participants - even if you don't have any decisions made yet.
If you have to cancel and you haven't yet communicated consistently with sponsors, it's too late. You'll spend more time arguing about money and value than if you had kept them updated along the way. Like the participants, sponsors want to know that there is somebody leading who has their best interests in mind.
Communicate with sponsors early and often. Let them know your decision making process. Ensure that they know your goal is to help them reach their goals. Be transparent. A little humility and leadership goes a long way.
Like sponsors, consistent and reliable communication will save you money and headaches in the end.
Don't forget the people who are out there working for you for free. Your communication style now is your investment in getting them back for the future.
Remember, if you have questions or feedback, leave it in the comments!