1 Question to Answer for Event Success: Why Answering “Why” Matters Most

Planning the big event to honor a team of 30 or gather a global workforce of 30,000 can become a wild ride on an emotional rollercoaster, complete with a TICK TOCK TICK TOCK soundtrack.


Addressing one critical question about your event will help you navigate the stress of the known, and unknowns, so success becomes inevitable:


Knowing what’s driving the event to happen and rigorously interrogating those motivations are critical to hosting a successful event.

Understanding the purpose of the event – the answer to why – will greatly influence its scale, scope and the required investments of time, effort and money.

A Peter Drucker quote comes to mind: “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”

In other words, if a video can meet the communication needs, don’t hold an event requiring people to fly into town for three days.

If multiple motivations are dictating the need for an event, prioritize so its primary purpose is clear to participants. Prioritizing will help you define content and align the experience of participants with the outcomes you desire. Is the event about recognition? Awareness? A call to action?


Hosting a successful event depends on getting it all right, from understanding its purpose to inviting the appropriate people to making sure all goes flawlessly.

But first, create a mental picture of a pebble dropped in still water.

The meaning of your event is the pebble. All decisions flow from that. The purpose of your event should guide decision-making, from planning through to its happening and follow-up.

From the start, be unreasonably demanding that every detail answer “why” and reflect the meaning of your event in some way.

Be expansive in thinking about ways to express and reinforce why the event is being held.

Might the new logo look good on the cocktail napkins? Could we host a picnic to emphasize our commitment to work-life fit? Could a customer speak to the troops and validate our recent acquisition?

Remaining true to the purpose of your event will set a course to shape an experience that is positive for all stakeholders and delivers on expectations.

Some never-out-of-style insights into corporate events can be found on guidebook.


John Misselwitz
Communications Expert & Scriptwriter at Frontline Productions