Successful Events Commence by Asking the “5W’s & How” Questions!

Posted by

July 28, 2015 – Issue 12
Photo: Small Business Week 2014 – Aaron Durand (@everydaydude) ©

In my last blog – July 14th, I spoke about using a 10-Step Action Plan the next time you attend a workshop or conference. But, what if you have been contemplating hosting your own event? It could be a seminar, workshop, conference, retreat, charitable affair or even a large family reunion. There are certain things you will need to take into consideration when planning, organizing and coordinating your own event.

By setting your event objective(s) early on, answering the 5 W’s (Who, What, Where, When and Why) along with How, your responses will become a good foundation in the planning process for your event. Your answers will provide clarity on what it will take to host a successful event, before you invest a significant amount of time and money into the actual event. Ensure you take the time to do your research and plan everything out, than create your detailed Action PLAN prior to implementing the work. By doing all of this, it will help to reduce some of the frustration and headaches you otherwise could encounter.


  • Will be attending your event. It is important to identify who is your audience in your target group?
  • Is it geared for the business owners (Entrepreneur; Small/Medium/Large Business; Profit versus Non-profit; or Corporations); specific industry and position?
  • Will be organizing and doing the work to put on this event or will you have others to help you in this endeavor?
  • Will there be other speakers / entertainers you need to organize and what are their fees?
  • Will there be any sponsors?
  • Will this event be a joint-venture and with whom?


  • Will your participants receive if they attend? What things appeal to them and what are their expectations of the event?
  • Be clear what this event consists of and what it is not part of it.
  • Is it a Workshop / Conference / Retreat / Charitable event
  • Kind of budget will be required to put on this event?
  • Kind of food and drinks will be offered? Example: coffee/tea, snacks, a meal. What you offer in food and drinks will impact your budget and also determine what you will charge for your event to recover your expenses and make a profit.
  • Know your audience when deciding the menu because food is one of the most important aspects of any event, and it’s often what people remember the most.
  • Size of a room will you require and will you need more than one room during the whole event? If this is your first event, you will need to estimate the number of participants attending and the seating arrangements to determine the size of the room you will need. The type of venue and size of the room you rent will definitely need to be taken into consideration when planning your budget.
  • Other resources, supplies and equipment will you need? Do you require certain individuals to assist you in this event, where you may lack certain skills?
  • Work will need to be undertaken to organize and carry out a successful event?
  • Risks, challenges and obstacles will you need to plan and prepare for?
  • Workshop information and material for your audience will you need to create?
  • Will you be selling any services, programs or products? Therefore, what will be your backroom offer to your audience?


  • Will you host your event – hotel vs community center vs school/university, or golf club? Check for wheelchair accessibility to both the room and bathrooms.
  • Will most of your participants be coming from? If they are coming from out of town, arrange for a hotel room discount, if the event is held at a hotel.


  • Will your event occur? It depends on your target audience as to whether it should be held during the weekday or weekend and if the event is only for a few hours, should it be held in the morning, afternoon or evening?
  • Know your target audience and choose dates and times based on what will work for them.
  • Know if there are other events in the area which could affect your event, i.e. road closures, security or police availability, hotel requirements, etc. During seasonal periods i.e. winter with snow and ice, can cause logistical problems. Many people do not want to take the risk on the roads, certainly over long distances and others may arrive late.
  • Best not to organize your events on or around (inter)national public holidays, long weekends, during the summer months and specific sporting events.


  • The WHY is your event objective! Why is this event-taking place?
  • Participants’ investment – why would they give up their time and money to attend, to gain solutions to their problems and any other benefits?

“Plan your progress carefully; hour-by hour, day-by-day, month-by-month.
Organized activity and maintained enthusiasm are the wellsprings of your power.” ~Paul J Meyer


  • Will you conduct market research to determine if this event is worth putting on, prior to your planning?
  • Will you pay for this event and what is your budget?
  • Long is your event: ½ day; Full day; 3 day, a week?
  • Much time do you have to plan, organize, coordinate and market the event?
  • If you are the primary speaker, how much time will it take you to develop the content, powerpoint slides and participants handout material for the i.e. workshop?
  • Much will you charge for your event or is it by invitation only?
  • Will the room be set-up and is there a need for a stage?
  • Will you build Quality into your event?
  • Many people are you expecting to attend? This will affect other decisions – such as how much food to order, seating arrangements and the type of venue you’ll need, etc.
  • Can you persuade them to come to your event? This is very important, if you expect to fill your seats.
  • Will you market and promote this event? Have you given yourself at least 6-8 weeks to market it? For some events you need to promote at least 6-12 months prior to the event.
  • Will you communicate this event to your target audience and on which social media sites?

This is definitely not a comprehensive list but it is certainly a starting point. If you answer the above questions, you will gain a clearer focus and direction with your researching and planning for your next event. The information you attain will undeniably assist you in creating an extremely detailed working PLAN to move forward in the implementation of your successful event. Good luck!

PLAN for Your Success!


One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.