By Brandi McGrath Kong, Director of Member Services
Gathering constructive criticism from stakeholders is important because it helps us understand what has gone right, what has gone wrong and what we can improve. Many planners will wait until an event is over to conduct a survey, but experience management company Qualtrics maintains that there are three critical stages to gathering feedback: pre-event, mid-event and post-event.
The first phase of gathering feedback before the event occurs. Work during this stage is typically focused solely on improving the attendee experience and helping planners make critical choices regarding the event. More specifically, Qualtrics says that pre-event feedback works best when used to:
- Boost excitement about the event
- Engage possible attendees
- Pinpoint areas of great interest
- Close the informational loop
The next stage happens during the event. Attendee engagement throughout your event is important because it helps you address issues as they arise. Doing so helps you not only instantly improve the experience for attendees but also takes care of your sponsors and other stakeholders.
A few ways to collect feedback during the event:
- A “text” or email helpline where attendees can give feedback or ask questions.
- Onsite feedback stations where registrants can speak to someone and/or drop a comment card.
- QR Codes that take attendees to a simple online feedback form.
This is when you’ll focus on getting the information you need to improve on your next event.
For best results, it’s recommended that a post-event survey go out within one or two days of the event. It should be short (10 questions or less) and have mostly close-ended questions that give you measurable data. The survey should also include at least one open-ended question so that respondents can leave additional comments not covered by other questions.
We have provided a list of sample questions your club can start with on page 40 of the Club Events Planning Guide. You can also learn more on this topic in our After the Event training.