Do you have Survey Savvy?

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Is he happily playing or bored to death? Your event attendees might look like they are having a great time, but you'll only know if you ask. If you survey your guests to find out what they value, you can deliver it.

It takes a long time (and sometimes a tough shell) to go through post event evaluations. If you're looking for love notes and accolades, you're likely to be on a roller coaster ride. The methodical types will tell you every detail that went wrong and your spontaneous pleasers will gush about how much they like you.

As a former event planner, I know how great it feels to get positive feedback, but unfortunately it's not our job to be liked. Brutal isn't it? Is there a single event planner who doesn't like people and want to be liked and appreciated? 

Our job is to have a timely under-budget event that creates a fabulous event experience and makes them come back next year and bring all of their friends.

So expect constructive feedback and understand that there's typically some buyers remorse as the show floor gets packed away. From exhibits to seminars, you're going to hear a boatload of suggestions. And that, is a good thing.

Don't look for affirmations. Rather, seek insights on saving money and ways to improve engagement and post event sales.

Markit in a Minute: Quick Survey Tips:

  • Offer an onsite AND an online option. With all the transparency today, people are more likely to give honest feedback when it can be anonymos. Good old paper evaluations at the end of sessions are the best way to get detailed, immediate feedback on a speaker or program. Give them a few minutes at the end of the session if you can, keep it brief and let them drop it in a box on their way out the door.
  • Send an online survey to get the real "take-away". Get a temperature read while the take away is fresh. Then find out what they really took away a little later with email follow up and a survey.Find out what you can improve on, keep or toss for next year. I've used SurveyMonkey (no affiliation): Free online survey software & questionnaire tool
  • Prepare a response and follow up asap. Before you start your review, get a neutral reply ready and thank everyone who gives you contact information. Delegate this if necessary, but do it quickly. Something like, "Thank you for your valuable feedback. We can only improve when we learn where we fall short and appreciate hearing your honest review of the session (tradeshow, coffee service, program etc)."
  • Next, compile feedback and put a plan in play to implement changes. Meet with your event team to discuss the event from their perspective. Post event briefings are critical because input from your attendees will drive decisions that can dramatically improve your next conference or show.
  • Follow up with a thank you note and gift to keep your event in their mind until registration opens for next year!

Karen Orr

The Markit Team

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