06You can only benefit from a post-event research. The most useful tool giving the best ratio between energy invested and results. A good planner makes always sure of what happens next. Here 7 key points.
1. with a post-event survey, you learn to see things from another’s perspective
A post-event survey is the most simple and effective way to recollect first-hand experience regarding our event: Was it good? Did the event meet the participants’ expectations?
Let’s consider a typical free-entrance event: an exhibition or a local wine o gardening fair, for instance, or the asparagus feast or else, a book fair. In all the scenarios, we will meet three main typologies of audience:
– participants, visiting stands and/or attending workshops;
–exhibitors, setting up stands to sell their products or meeting potential contacts;
– sponsors, using the event as a medium to sponsor their brands or products.
Every kind of audience must have had their own expectations (before) and must have drawn their conclusions (after). A planner has to get everyone’s consensus even when people have different aims and points of view. The post-event inquiry helps you understand whether the event has met people’s expectations and everyone is satisfied, keeping in mind that, according to the typology of the event, the weight of different opinions may vary.
2. A good post-event survey needs to capture the fleeting moments
The right time to ask questions is a few days later because people have already formed an overall impression and the event is still fresh in their memory. So, the planner needs to be ready to act in this quite narrow time “frame”, which is 1 week/10 days at most.
Its outcome is crucial for the next event organization.
3. Conferences and workshops. Questions to participants
What is important in this type of events is participants’ opinions which should be collected even after every session (or even in the process) in order to have an idea of the specific approval rating. And then, a couple of days later, inquire them in general.
Questions should concern:
– participant’ objectives (for example, a participant aims to network, or to keep up to date, to get to know the market and trends, etc.) and opinions on how and whether these have been achieved;
– speakers, especially the keynote speakers, introductions and main topics;
– favourite sessions and/or topics that were not dealt with;
– break times amidst sessions ( was it enough time? Too much?) and logistics;
– venue and its suitability
– secondary aspects ( banqueting, accommodations, entertainment, etc.)
– cost/benefit ratio
There is no limit to the dimension of a meeting nor to the number of participants: a survey is always worth it. If the planner’s role was clear (which means everyone was aware it was not a private meeting), a survey is always justified. It is always useful, both for customers and the planner.
4. Internal business meeting
Examining employers’ and coworkers’ reactions at an AGM (Annual General Meeting) or during a meetup regarding a specific topic, maybe broadcast in streaming to the different units around the world, can be very enlightening.
Everyone is supposed to have clearly in mind what are the event’s objectives but the survey can still recall them and test their understanding. It is a good chance to examine how their achievement is perceived and avoid digression. It is also very useful to verify whether the aims of the meeting have been considered consistent with the general organization.
Above all, gathering feedbacks about team building activities is a golden opportunity, and if participants don’t restrict themselves to only saying “I liked it/ I didn’t like it” , the survey may also have an unpredictable outcome. Handle with care: you have to keep in mind that the deeper you go the higher the risk to touch a nerve. Be careful.
5. post-event questions to exhibitors
If your event involved exhibitors paying for stand charges you can’t avoid investigating their degree of satisfaction and their feedbacks. Probably you will soon find out that the way they see things is completely different from yours (since your main concern is the participants’ reaction). However, their opinions will help you understand their expectations and what are the aspects of the events that have been valuable and what aspects haven’t.
Was the visitor flow satisfying and the number of visits to their stand discrete?
If during the event you encountered some criticality, face it in the survey.
For any topic ask direct questions and provide closed responses (with different techniques, for instance:
– rating questions
– yes-no questions
– multiple choice between I agree/ I disagree
– also, arrange a comment field for further “burning” topics.
Fear not to ask the most thorny issue: “was it worth it? Are you going to participate next year?” No matter how uncomfortable the question may be, this is the core issue. Consider carefully whether the person you are talking to is the real decision-maker. When in doubt, you’d better refrain from asking if you don’t want to make a fuss.
6. Post-event questions to sponsors
Apart from reputation and prestige related issues, the main reason why sponsors take part in an event is most of the times to interact with participants.
Even during the post-event survey, you need to find out if they believe their efforts and investments were not misplaced and, moreover, why and why not.
You also need to know what kind of sponsorship has been the most effective and benefited the most from the event.
Their identification can really help you focus your efforts on the next event.
If sponsors (and exhibitors) have planned some activities (from a cocktail to the product demo, from flyering to flash mobs), try to discover how these activities affected the participants and how much they were appreciated. And also how these feedbacks were perceived by the sponsor.
A planner needs to make sponsors understand that he or she is involved in what they do and achieve and does not only “take the money and runs away”.
7. Why the post-event survey matters
The post-event survey is as important as the follow-ups, and it is a communication strategy itself. It does not only contribute to improving events and your professional growth but also tells a lot about you, your skills and your hard work and effort. Put simply, it means that employing your services is a good deal.
Plus, an email post-event survey helps you keep in touch with participants and widens your network, with obvious advantages even for future events.
Furthermore, post-event inquiries keep the conversation going with all your stakeholders.
It is a mine of information. What is more, surveys gives people the chance to talk about their past experience and they like it. Paying attention to what participants, sponsors and exhibitors say, the planner will be able to grow professionally and organize better and better events every year.