Gathering feedback from event attendees is a vital part of the event itself. Surveys, polls, and questionnaires are one of the most powerful tools to gather the feedback… but only if you know how to conduct them. Read the article and learn how to arrange surveys, and how to make people fill in the feedback poll. Also, check what questions should your attendees be asked to provide useful information.
Post-event wrap up – was it worth it?
You made a decision, you will organize an event. Planning of the event takes time and requires both knowledge and experience. You spend months on taking care of every detail: venue, speakers, accommodation, materials, food, and so on until everything is done.
The big day is passing faster than you expected. You feel tired, yet happy. But do you feel satisfied? How do you know if your event was successful? And, most important, how will you answer the similar question asked by your boss?
If you have a good habit of gathering data – great! You’re covered. But if the only proof of attendee satisfaction is a picture of smiling people, then you’re in trouble.
Your subjective opinion is not enough to measure the result of an event. You can count attendees or sold tickets, but is it a reliable number in this case?
Your event happened thanks to the people who were there and spent their money. Would they do it again? The simplest and yet the most powerful solution will be asking them. The power of feedback is undeniable. Here is why:
It helps you measure the satisfaction of your attendees.
Asking for feedback shows them that you value their opinion.
Feedback can help you improve your product or event.
It is a reliable source of information for other customers and attendees.
Feedback helps you estimate the market trends.
Feedback form questions you should ask
There are a few questions that you need to ask in the post-event survey. Usually, they cover the overall event evaluation. The list includes such questions like:
How would you rate the event?
How would you rate different organizational aspects (location, date, venue, vendors, speakers, schedule, and so on)
What did you like most / least about the event?
What would you like to be improved during the next edition?
Do you have any other suggestions of further improvements for the organizers?
There are also more specific survey questions for feedback from an event, that will help you measure people satisfaction. They can cover multiple areas.
Often, the organizers experiment, introduce new activities, “side activities” and they need a feedback whether they should organize such activity during the next edition, or should they think about something else. Example: Which side activities did you like the most?
They also expect feedback on the merits of the conference. Example: Was the event worth its price? Did it help you expand your knowledge? Did you get what you came for?
If it comes to networking conferences, one of the most important things for participants is the number and quality of the new contacts. Example: Was the networking satisfying? Did you manage to get the right contacts?
Many events have event applications designed to help participants find conference rooms and keep their schedules organized, and to help organizers measure event activities and trends. Feedback on the app can be worth asking for. Example: Was the app useful? Which features were missing and which were the most useful?
A question about the organizational level of the event is also recommended. Example: How would you rate (on the scale 1-5) the organizational level of the conference? How would you rate the organizational level of the reception (check-in, volunteers, and so on)?
A conference participant can help you complete the “to do” list for the next event. Example: What are your expectations for the next edition? Was there anything missing? What would you improve? Which part was absolutely perfect?
Know how of gathering post-event feedback
Unfortunately, just preparing the feedback poll is not enough for your attendees to fill it in. You must make it easy and engaging to encourage people to make the last effort to give you some valuable information.. Check top 6 practices:
Number of questions
A number of questions are a very important aspect. There’s a slight conflict: as an organizer, you would probably like to have around 20 or more questions fully answered, but there’s no chance your attendees would spend their valuable time on that.
The fewer questions – the bigger is probability that they will answer them all. Starting from 3, the maximum – safe number of questions is 12. If you add more feedback form questions, they will probably abandon it somewhere in the middle.
Different kinds of questions
Organizers prefer the open questions, but the attendees don’t like them. Those questions are the hardest to answer and require more time and effort to be covered.
What is the conclusion? Make your survey differentiated to make it more attractive. Don’t make all the questions open. Add some yes/no questions, some with the listed answers, and some where participants can rate given aspect on a scale.
Types of surveys
The question is still on – which surveys are more effective: digital or analogue?
In the past, paper surveys were the one and effective way of getting written feedback, the digital communication is increasing the popularity of the online ones. An eco-friendly solution is an answer for global digitalization, mentioned in McKinsey’s survey, showing growth driven by digital efforts.
Here are some advantages of online-based surveys:
Speed – online surveys are immediately accessible and can be created in multiple ways, including email, social media, or by embedding them on websites. The great solution is also mobile app surveys.
Analysis – ability to view real-time results and perform detailed analysis of the data you collect is a huge advantage. It saves plenty of time when you don’t have to count all the papers on your own. Let the technology work for you.
Price – there is no paper, printing or telephone interview costs. Online surveys are available for free, and as an additional feature in mobile applications.
Security – data security is one the most important issues nowadays. With the usage of online surveys, you can control data access with a password.\
Timing while asking for a feedback
Don’t wait! Ask attendee for feedback immediately after the event is over, while the experience is still fresh in their minds. Start sharing the info about the survey after the lunch on the last day. You can send your post-event survey over email, mobile application or share the survey link manually. Just choose a survey distribution method that makes the most sense for your event and is the easiest for attendees to access.
Moreover, you can arrange survey BEFORE the event. It won’t be a feedback, but it may let them influence the event’s direction. Attendees can suggest who they would like to have as a speaker, where to go for an after party or if they feel the need for a business speed dating zone. There are multiple possibilities. It’s all up to the organizer and his knowledge about the needs and expectations.
Some corporations use pre-event feedback polls to prepare suitable transportation, arrange rooms, and learn about the type of music employees would like to have on a corporate retreat. Basically, a survey made in advance is giving a possibility to meet attendees’ needs and save a lot of time.
Power of reminders
A perfectly prepared online feedback poll with the right number of questions is a huge part of the feedback gathering task, but it’s not all of it. You have to convince the event attendees top fill it in. That’s usually the hardest part.
First of all, make a good use of the mentioned ‘how to’ tips. They should work in your favor.
Next powerful tactic you can use is reminding. Seems obvious right? Sadly, organizers tend to forget to use it or don’t see its power.
Let’s check the numbers, shall we? Compare 2 similar events which organizers were using Eventory. The first one, we had 100 attendees. The organizers collected 749 rates for and comments for different lectures. The second one, also with 100 attendees gained 108 grades and comments. The difference is that during (and after) the one with better feedback attendees got a few reminders about the surveys.
The best and easiest way for attendees to fill in the feedback is a notification redirecting them straight to the survey. It is motivating to complete it “here and now”.
Also, if you haven’t got satisfying results and the number of answers is too small to draw conclusions, you can always send a reminder one or two days after the conference.
We all like gifts
Attendees appreciate all kinds of awards and competitions. The incentive to make the poll worth filling it in doesn’t have to be big. Sometimes appealing to people’s good nature is working, especially if you have an active community that values what you do and would benefit from you doing it better.
In other cases, even small gifts like pens, notebooks, leashes or mugs will convince attendees to be more involved. If you have resources you can make a lottery for some of the people who filled in the survey and give them more valuable prizes, like power banks or mascots. Cooperation with your partners to get those gifts is a win-win situation, you have things which may raise your attendees’ satisfaction and the partner is getting promotion with positive impact.
Successful event management calls for continuous improvement. Feedback is paramount if you want to avoid making the same mistakes all over again. The more events you make the bigger improvement you should notice if you follow your attendees’ experience or advice. Apply the suggestions and share your results with us!