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Post Event Evaluation Guide for Event Organizer’s

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Event evaluation is the most critical step in the event management process. Without evaluating your event, you won’t identify what went well and what could have gone better.

Why is Event Evaluation Necessary?

Evaluating an event allows you to keep track of how your audience responds to your message. It lets you know if any issues need addressing that may not have been immediately apparent during the live event.

By assessing your goals and metrics against how they turned out, you can determine if any adjustments or enhancements need to be made for the next time around.

Any mistake identified in an evaluation has at least three possible solutions:

  • Do more of it next time.
  • Do less of it next time.
  • Do something different next time.

How Do I Go About Evaluating My Event?

Evaluating your event starts with establishing clear goals and success metrics for each main objective of the event. For example, if you want to improve attendance rates at your next annual conference, set a goal for increased registration and determine what series of steps would be necessary to make it happen.

Then, develop an expanded list of success metrics that take into consideration factors like:

  • Interest in specific topics.
  • Positive reaction to the marketing message.
  • Sense of community and inclusion.
  • Room capacity (among others).

This way, when it comes time to evaluate the results, you can match up your results with these criteria instead of just saying, “We got x more participants!”.

How Do I Create Opportunities for Feedback?

One of the most important factors in setting up your event evaluation is also the easiest by simply asking participants to complete an evaluation form. Include a link to the survey on every promotional piece you send out for your event and remind participants at check-in or somewhere else during the day.

Even if you don’t get a 100% response rate, it’s better than having no data! It takes very little time but can mean significant insights into what worked well or didn’t work as planned. Don’t be afraid to shorten the form by including only relevant questions relevant to your particular type of event (e.g., conference, webinar, etc.).

What About Managing My Event with Goals in Mind?

To effectively use the feedback you receive from your evaluations, you must plan how you will move forward. If there are areas of improvement identified by your attendees, create a timeline for taking action and keep them updated on progress.

Communicating to them what changes have been made and why can help build stronger relationships and brand loyalty. Continue formulating small goals and mapping out the steps needed to achieve those goals until they become habits (because we all know it’s easier to maintain something than start over).

Even small changes like implementing a new registration process or reworking an old speaker line-up can make a big difference in the effectiveness of your next event.

How Do I Collect Feedback?

Evaluating an event is not as simple as tallying up the number of responses you receive. Instead, it is essential to use that information to improve future events.

To do this, you must gather a variety of different types of feedback from a variety of sources which includes:

  • Evaluations.
  • Social media posts or comments.
  • Face-to-face conversations with participants.
  • Any other materials created for the event (e.g., marketing material).

If there are concerns about how specific sessions went, send out a survey asking specific questions about those sessions immediately after the event.

Take advantage of every opportunity you have to learn how your event went, and the best way to do that is always to be asking questions even when you think everything is excellent. If you don’t ask, you definitely won’t receive any feedback!

How Can I Use Evaluations to Improve My Next Event?

Once the event has wrapped up, take time to review all of the data that has been collected. At this point, it’s too late to make changes for the next time around, but now it’s time for concluding what worked well in your previous events and what needs changing in future iterations of the program.

Evaluations help find out what people liked. They are also great at revealing opportunities for improvement, which leads to even greater success. After evaluating the data, it’s essential to communicate what changes will be made and why those specific changes were chosen as they can affect the overall success of your events.

Even if one or two procedures are changed slightly, it could significantly impact how participants react to the next round of registration and announcements throughout the event.

How Do I Communicate My Results?

When updating stakeholders about what has happened since the last round of evaluations, it is always best practice to include information about new event initiatives that will help improve future events, such as:

  • Social media changes.
  • New marketing strategies.
  • Room capacity limits
  • New attendee benefits such as discounts for friends attending with them.

Acknowledging that you have heard what attendees have to say is a big step for any event manager. But then going the extra mile by sharing details about how those concerns were addressed helps reassure them that their feedback was valuable and that they can expect an even better program next time.

If possible, provide stats about the number of evaluations collected and any specific data points that may be interesting (e.g., “We received over 100 evaluations from participants asking us to improve our social media presence!”)

Can I Still Manage My Event with Goals in Mind Even if I Don’t Go Through This Process?

Of course! This entire article should serve as a guide for improving your events after they happen, not necessarily something you need to do each time. If you are presented with an opportunity to bring back a great speaker, but the details won’t work out for your event, keep their information on hand to see if they might be a good fit in future events.

Similarly, looking at what worked well at other successful events can provide you with some insight. Maybe last year attendees loved this particular presenter so much that it encouraged friends and family members to attend as well?

Even though only one event has passed since the previous evaluation, if there are many changes, it should almost always be followed by another round of assessments. Evaluations are not about being punitive or critical but instead providing constructive criticism that helps improve your program before moving forward.

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