An ocean of questions, no land in sight, your event: the lighthouse. And this article is the lifeboat that is going to get you there.
(Bad) Metaphors aside, organizing an event does feel like a never ending ocean of stuff to do. Your saviour might just be the acronym that you learned in school. WWWWW, the five W’s: Who, What, Where, Why, When.
No really, that’s it.
These questions are the foundation of your event and they should be applied at every stage, turn, situation. Their role is to ground your thoughts and make your event goals actually achievable.
The most important W of all. This is the one that starts off the whole “operation”. Why you want to do it will give you a good understanding not only of the purpose of the event, but also of the results that you want to see at the end of it. Why are you hosting it in the first place? What are you hoping to accomplish? The answers will help you fit each piece into its place.
Who is the target audience of your event is, again, a defining question for your event. The answer should guide you towards defining what the attendees would walk away with: an experience, a bigger network, information exchange or products? This is one of the defining questions that you should ask when conceptualizing your event.
This is the question you ask when you are getting into the nitty gritty of things. What do you want to present? What is the topic that you want to cover? What is the most important message that you want to convey? You establishing your goals and your target audience will determine how viable the event idea is.
Getting into the more straightforward side of things. Tied closely with the next question, it defines the logistics of actually holding the event. Where will you find a venue perfectly suited for the size of your event? Will it have everything that you need to actually hold it? Or should you opt for an online event and change things up? All things should be taken in consideration when deciding what venue is right for you.
The timing of your event is often dictated by the answer to the previous question: the venue of choice, its availability, thinking about traffic, travel and other events that might take place at the same time. Of course, this only goes for hybrid and in-person events; for online events the time frame should be one that accommodates the general working hours so you can have as many attendees as possible; it should also be one that would allow you to fit most of the speaker’s schedules.
The question that grounds you in reality; it will take everything into the tangible, into an executable plan. How will you bring this event to life? How will you make it memorable? How will everything fit under the proposed budget? How will you set everything up? And if you can’t answer the How, all the What’s and Why’s won’t ever matter.
Do you think we missed any other crucial questions?