Written by Molly Fast
Whether doing so through post-event surveys or by asking participants you interact with on event, there are so many opportunities to learn how your participants really feel about their event experience. Receiving feedback is critical to the success of your event, the long-term health of your project and the strength of the relationship you build with everyone who does your event.
Asking for feedback is critical, but what you actually do with that feedback is just as, if not more, important. Read on for how to set yourself up successfully to get it through the four stages of the feedback process:
- Set-up: Build out your survey properly. You want to be focused and concentrate questions to what you really want to know. Many of us have a short attention span, so keeping it short and to the point ensures people don’t exit out of the survey before they’ve had a chance to complete it. You also want to create a format that can be compared year-over-year so there is a benchmark for your event.
- Collection: Encourage your staff to be open to receiving and asking for feedback. When on event, you and your team should be comfortable asking “How has your experience been? Is there anything we can do to make it better?” People really appreciate being asked and it shows you care. It’s also helpful to remind participants that they’ll have an opportunity to give more feedback during the post-event survey.
- Analysis: Look not just at survey results, but take into consideration anecdotal feedback received up to and on event. It’s important to identity trends between the two. Always look at the open-ended comments; it’s a great place for participants to really speak their mind. And this is where it’ll be important for you to find the trends. It’s challenging to not let one strong comment color your perception, but avoid making sweeping changes or assumptions based on those who speak the loudest.
- Follow-up: Utilize the analysis as a platform for how to improve and enhance next year’s event. Use what you’ve heard and learned as a starting point for brainstorming sessions as you begin to plan for your next event or for the next year. While some feedback is captured anonymously, when you have the chance, connect back with participants to keep them in the loop on what you’re doing with feedback they may have shared with your staff 1:1. This is your most important step because if you don’t follow-through on what you’ve learned, your participants will never know just how hard you’re working to incorporate their feedback and how much their voice matters!
Some of our best (event) changes have come about because of event survey results from participants. They see the event through a lens that we, as staff, just can’t. Establishing a way to ask for, follow-up on and then implement feedback is a tangible way to show your participants that you listen and care.
Remember that utilizing feedback begins with how you set it up and ends with how you follow-through. Take the time to implement a practice that works for your organization. Just don’t leave this missed opportunity on the table. You never know, you may just end up with even happier participants than you started with!
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Molly Fast leads the company’s local operations for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day series and is privileged to work with Event 360’s participant-facing team. For over 15 years, Molly has been fortunate enough to combine her love of fundraising with the ability to make a difference in the work she does focusing on exceeding expectations and delighting participants along the way. When not roaming around Ireland, Molly can be found taking photos, exploring hidden stair cases or talking to strangers in Santa Monica where she lives with her husband. You can find Molly on Twitter, LinkedIn and her favorite social media tool, Instagram.