Why use it?

Use this template to plan your discussion and get ideas on different types of exercises to keep the conversation fun, interesting and flowing.

How to use it?

Take note of the Welcome and Introduction sections below. These are important and a must to start any focus group.

Next, take some time to read through the other focus areas and decide what’s most relevant to your goals. Take a look at the different ideas for exercises – you can follow these exactly, or use them as a starting point to come up with your own ideas.

Once you’re done, head back to the run a focus group tool to continue planning for your focus group.

Discussion guide template

Discussion FocusSample questions and comments
  • Thank you for coming
  • Introduce yourself, the facilitator and anyone else from your team
  • Why we’re here and how the findings will be used
  • How this group will work and what to expect (no wrong answers, show respect to others
  • Housekeeping (toilets, emergency exits etc)
  • Audio recording
  • Please introduce yourself
  • Tell us something that not many people know about you
  • Please also share the best thing you’ve watched on TV recently
Awareness and perception
  • Let’s start the discussion by talking about why you attended [insert organisation/activity] for the first time. I’d like to know things such as how you heard about it, why you decided to attend, and what you experienced.


  • Have you been back?
  • What sorts of things have you seen?
  • Who do you normally attend with?
  • Do you have plans to attend anything else coming up?
  • What did you hear about that you chose not to attend?
  • Has there been anything you heard about that you missed?
Experiences with your organisation
  • What are the best parts of attending [insert organisation/activity]?
  • Was there anything that wasn’t so great?


  • Artistic quality
  • Food and drinks
  • Atmosphere
  • Doing something different
  • Spending time with friends or family
  • Ease of access
  • Getting there
  • Ticket purchase experience
  • What else do you do before and after attending?
Positioning and relative advantages


  • What other arts and culture events do you attend in the region or elsewhere?

Drawing exercise:

  • We’d like you to take a piece of paper and write down these names: [insert other comparable cultural offerings/organisations/activities].
  • Imagine that these names are attending a party. Can you tell us what kind of party guest they are? What are they wearing? What have they brought with them? How do they behave at the party?
Decision, commitment and barriers, timing

Sentence completion exercise: I’m going to start some sentences, and I’d like you to finish them on your piece of paper:

  • The main reason I am a member of [insert organisation/activity] is…
  • I visit [insert organisation/activity] to…
  • I decide to buy my tickets when…
  • My biggest frustration about [insert organisation/activity] is…
  • I wish [insert organisation/activity] would…
Attendance decision drivers and conversion

Question with stimulus:

  • Take a look at the [program, website, etc] and pick something that you’d like to attend in the future.


  • Tell us why you picked that?
  • Who would you take with you?
  • What would stop you attending?
  • Tell us about the steps you would go through to plan your visit
  • Tell us about your preferred time of day/family commitments
  • Tell us about your budget
Marketing materials

Question with stimulus:

  • We’d now like to show you some marketing materials. Please pass these around and take a look, and in a few minutes we’re going to ask you a few questions about what you think.
  • Who do you think [insert organisation] is trying to attract? Why do you say that?
  • After seeing this material are you more or less likely to want to attend [organisation/activity]?
  • Which ones appeal the most to you?
Value for money


We’d like to talk to you about value for money.

  • Do you remember how much you paid for the last ticket you purchased? How would you rate the value for money at that price?
  • Do you remember how much you paid for your membership? How would you rate the value for money at that price?
Ideal future experience

Visualisation exercise:

We’d like you to close your eyes and think about your perfect visit to [insert organisation or activity] in the future … now we’d like you to write a letter to a friend telling them about your day/night out. Be sure to mention five aspects:

  • Type of experiences/events/shows
  • Who with
  • Food
  • Time
  • Price