The backbone of any meeting planning strategy can be simplified down to a lesson provided to many of us in grade school. Employing the 5 W’s can guide the meeting planner from a scratchy outline to a well-defined blueprint.

Why:  Why does the objective and topic require a meeting?  

Do you have new information to report? Is there specific education to share? Has the group’s structure, outlook, goals or infrastructure changed? As the topic should be well defined, so too should the “why” be addressed regarding why to bring people together at all for a meeting. The structure of the meeting can be large or small, face-to-face or virtual, but there should be a clear reason why.  

Who: Who should attend the conference?

Is the specific education best shared with those who educate and/or manage others or is the education best shared directly to the users? Will all who are affected by a change in the structure, outlook, goals or infrastructure be in attendance, or perhaps the specified leaders in the group? The target audience of the meeting is extremely important to both the method of presenting and how the information improves the performance, communication or professional effectiveness of the meeting participant.  

What: What meeting program format is the most suitable design to provide the utmost beneficial environment for the participants to achieve the preferred outcome?  

What instruction style is best to provide the required information? Will the target audience benefit from a conference classroom setting? Perhaps it is a large group setting, with little interaction and mainly formal presentations. Alternatively, it might be a small group meeting with lots of interaction between the desired audience and presenters. Perhaps a merging of styles, where the general information is provided to the larger group and then they break into classroom style for individual topics, hands-on practice, or to brainstorm and share experiences. A thoroughly researched and well-presented topic will be for naught if it’s not targeted to the appropriate audience (the Who) in the right format (the What).

When: When is it most beneficial to hold the event?  

This includes not only date(s), but also time(s). When during the year is it vital to gather everyone? When is the target audience most apt to be available for the event? If the “when” is not a favorable time for the “who” to participant, then you may be holding an event for no reason. 

Where: Where is it best to hold the event?  

Considering the “Who,” would a big city be the best place for it or a rural location? Would a hotel conference room work to provide the desired outcome, or would a hands-on classroom in an alternate facility be a better setting? If the “When” and “Where” are not convenient to the “Who,” and if the “When and “Where” do not offer an appropriate environment then the outcome may not be achieved.

A seasoned meeting planner at Infinity Conference Group can assist you with examining the 5 Ws to achieve a positive result.