Isn’t it ironic that in this age of largely unsolicited yet freely shared opinions that getting genuine feedback after your event is still a challenge? Considering how loosely defined the word “friend” has become, you’d think we’d feel less awkward about engaging attendees post-event. After all, insightful feedback and regular interactions with your target audience are critical to pulling off “wow” events.
1) Check in regularly
Keep in touch with attendees throughout the planning process and the event itself instead of requesting all feedback at the end. Don’t jam their inboxes, though. Use social media to post brief polls or ask quick questions. As you refine your program, let attendees know how their opinions influenced you.
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2) Limit your questions
Instead of asking attendees to complete a long survey, spread your questions out. You’ll get a higher response rate and solid feedback because you’re asking for just a few answers, not something long, involved and time-consuming.
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3) Use social media to gather indirect feedback
You don’t always need direct feedback to gauge the audience’s response to your event. In addition to using a dedicated hashtag to track comments, consider running a contest and/or giveaway. Best tweet, most-inspiring photo and top lessons learned are three categories in which responses — words and images — provide insight.
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4) Delay your post-event survey
After spending several hours or days at an event, attendees are usually eager to get back to their regular routines. If they get a survey on their way out, the results may not accurately reflect their experience. It’s best to wait a week or two to send a post-event survey. By then, they’ll have a fresh perspective and will have had an opportunity to apply what they’ve learned.
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5) Whenever possible, personalize
Take a closer look at your attendees’ profiles and segment them, for example, by track and interests. When you send email updates or a wrap-up newsletter, aim to personalize your messages. The more connected they feel to the event and its organizers, the more likely they are to show up and maintain their connection with you.
6)Thank your toughest critics
It’s sometimes hard to hear, but remember that it’s important to gather event feedback from tough critics. Though their tone may be harsh, these attendees might actually help you learn what issues need to be addressed. Whether they post their gripes on social media or are vocal at your event, let them know their concerns are being heard. When appropriate, let others know as well. This opens the lines of communication and will inspire more feedback from all attendees, resulting in better events and more engagement.
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