How did your event go?

Today we are sharing our top tips for event evaluation.

Once your event has taken place it is easy to get swept up in the momentum of your day to day, swiftly moving on to the next task. It is so important though to take the time to review and evaluate your event; what worked? What didn’t? Look back objectively and constructively to see how you can improve things for next time.

When you organised your event, you would have set some goals for what you wanted to achieve. The ultimate purpose of gathering feedback is to understand if you met your objectives.

To do this, it is important not to just base your evaluation on your own opinion. Whilst it is crucial to consider your own opinions as the event organiser, also speak to your delegates, stakeholders, speakers and exhibitors to find out what they thought of the event.

One of the best pieces of work to ensure you receive a range of feedback is creating a feedback survey that can be sent to all attendees. You could create a different one for delegates, speakers and exhibitors to get a wider range of views. Even if you know things didn’t quite go to plan, it’s still important to send your survey, as without evidence it is hard to know exactly what you need to change – besides, things might have gone better than you think!

Whilst it is known that post event surveys typically only receive a 30-50% completion rate, depending on delegate numbers, this should still help provide a fair basis for analysis. Be mindful though, if only 1 or 2 people complete your survey, figures may be distorted and should be carefully considered before you make drastic changes to your itinerary and programme.

Once you have gathered your feedback, compile a post event report to circulate to your stakeholders. Start off by outlining your goals, and be sure to comment on whether you achieved them – be honest, there was no point in compiling your feedback otherwise.

Other areas to touch on in your report should include:

  • Background – what was the driver behind you organising your event?
  • Outputs – what did you hope would come of the event?
  • Budget and true expenditure – how did you spend your money?
  • Attendance figures – did everyone who RSVP’d yes attend?
  • Feedback– this is where you share your pure results without interpretation
  • Summary – what have you learned from your event and how will you use it to improve next time?

One final tip: When you set your goals for next year, take note of others’ feedback, but don’t over promise. If someone would have liked Cirque du Soleil as the evening entertainment but your budget can only cover some light canapés, don’t spend too long trying to figure out how you can deliver the impossible. If however, a common theme was to allow more exhibition time, then a simple extension of networking sessions could easily help accommodate this.

Hopefully you will find that you have robust, helpful information that will be integral to planning future events.