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A series of articles about all facets of event planning with helpful hints, planning ideas, sample schedules and budgeting tips from the B&E Team.

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Asking The Right Questions: WHAT, WHY, WHO

Ask the Right QuestionsWHY? THE PURPOSE...
Why are you, your client, or your boss wanting to have a meeting or event? Whatever the occasion, you, as the planner, need to know WHY! Ask questions!

  • A celebration?

  • An annual convention?

  • New product introduction?

  • A sales meeting?

  • Retirement or anniversary party?

  • Employee motivation?

  • To educate?

  • Allow for networking?

Along with the WHY is WHAT are the objectives of the event? Is the objective to thank employees for a year of hard work or to provide recognition for some special people or individuals? Is your objective to promote good feelings within the company or with the general public? Is this an event that has many audiences or just one? How do you want your audience to feel when this event is over? Do you want them to buy your products, feel pride in working for an outstanding company, or learn new techniques to make their jobs more productive?

The meeting may have multiple objectives...keeping within a budget is one of them, along with keeping the planning time to a minimum. What kind of a retirement party can I realistically plan with $1,000 and two weeks' notice?

Determining objectives of your meeting is an important first step because meeting programs are designed from these objectives to bring about the desired results. In order to measure your success, you need to determine goals and objectives and then create a meeting that accomplishes the results you want.

Who will be your attendees, speakers, sponsors, etc? These are all the different audiences with whom you will be working. You need to have a profile of who they are, where they are coming from, and how old they are. Are they couples? Do any have disabilities? Will any attendees be international? Do they speak English? The more you know about your participants, the more success you will have meeting their expectations!

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), passed into law in 1991, guarantees protection for disabled persons in the area of public accommodations. The meeting planner is legally responsible to make certain all efforts have been made to comply with the ADA. Know the individual needs of attendees. To be in compliance with the ADA, it is very important to ask you attendees if anyone has disability-related needs. Then follow-up with a call to determine what their specific needs are. Be sure to clearly communicate these needs to the facility. By doing this, you have established the intent to comply with ADA. Contact the ADA Northwest regional office at (800) HELP-ADA to get detailed regulations, or ask your facility.