Brace yourselves, event organizers. Event feedback has burst from its traditional role of improving the next year’s event. The post-event survey, while always helpful, can’t help organizers improve attendee experience before and during the event.

Mobile event apps and social media have made it possible for organizers to have two-way, personal and continual contact with prospects and attendees not only after the event, but before and during as well. Some event apps have generated new ways to get feedback, including live polling, social media wall and a public bulletin board (e.g., Whova’s Community Board). It’s about time we move beyond the 8×11 single page or simple post-event web survey!

Use these seven tips to collect event feedback at all points in the attendee experience, as well as after. These benefit the organization staging the event and also help turn attendees into co-creators of the event. Attendees will find the news ways fun and meaningful.

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#1. Leverage pre-event questionnaires to market your event

You may ask attendees some basic information through a registration webpage. Are you asking about demographics, dietary needs, emergency contact information, reason for attending, or topics they are interested in? Great, it’s a good starting point and you can use this information to develop an event agenda or understand your audience.

Are you trying to sell more tickets or attract more attendees? If so, you can add some survey questions like, “How did you discover our event?” or “Would you like to invite your friends / colleagues? Enter their emails here.” You can use the information to know where would be effective in promoting your events (e.g. social media, event listing websites), or whom to directly send invitations out.

#2. Run Live polls before or during your events

Live audience polling is a great way to increase attendee engagement and get quantitative event feedback.  You can have a little fun and get to know your attendees better right before events, opening sessions or lunch time. For example, “Who are you most excited to see here?” or “How many of you have attended this conference last year?” can warm up your event.

Sometimes you can also make a real time decision to cut costs, too. Asking “How many of you are planning to stay for lunch or go out with new friends in the last day?” helps you adjust food orders.

Attendees also like live polls as they can see what their peers are thinking. An organizer or speaker can project the live poll answers on a presentation screen for all to see. This has the potential to spark conversation and make sessions more interactive.

Today, some event apps offer a live poll feature, so check it out. These live poll question examples will inspire you.

#3. Go beyond the feedback form to direct interaction with your attendees

While event surveys and live polls bring in aggregated statistics, engaging in direct conversations with prospects and attendees also reveals critical information.  Entering conversations about your event helps you take the pulse of attendees, even if only anecdotally.

Event apps have several ways to listen in and engage. If the app facilitates a public bulletin board displaying on-going conversations, ask attendees their thoughts from pre-event suggestions to post-event feedback —  and reply to them. Entering the dialogue will help them feel engaged and let them know their opinions and experience matter.

Topics like “ask organizers anything” or “What you expect to learn from this event” typically provokes excellent feedback. Whova’s Community Board page provides more key ideas.

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#4. Appeal to the ego and/or emotions

After making post event survey questions, you can also think about some intangible rewards that boost participant self-image or arouse positive emotions. Entice by promising participants a sense of connection or altruism. Reminding them of their survey’s impact also makes their effort worthwhile.

Put the following messages in the text at the top of your feedback forms, event survey questions, on your social media announcements or email subject lines.  

  • “help us make next year’s event even better”
  • “we can’t wait to read your responses”
  • “we won’t improve without your help”
  • “pitch in with 443 of your peers to give us the feedback we need to improve.”
  • “join the _________ community when you provide event feedback.”
  • “Help us build the best _________ Conference. Take our 5 question survey!”

#5. Use multiple ways to remind them at a right time

If you collect surveys after an event, remind attendees during lunch time on the last day. They should be relaxed and enjoying their meal and therefore open to completing your survey. If you are running a live poll or trying to engage attendees through a public bulletin board (e.g. Whova’s Community Board), it’s better to announce it during opening remarks.

< Multiple ways to get event feedback and keep attendees engaged >

If you are using an event app, you can leverage push-notifications as well as emails at the same time. Some event apps automatically forward your push-notifications to attendees emails, increasing the open rate to over 75%. Review  your event app’s features thoroughly beforehand. You may as well use every advantage!

Don’t forget social media when you’re trying to reach attendees. Just add your survey link to a post and encourage them to click on it. You can also remind them on a Social Wall that displays your reminders on a big screen at your event venue. Increasing feedback depends on reaching attendees in multiple different channels.

#6. Share event feedback beyond your team

Of course, you and your team will go over feedback carefully.

Don’t forget to get this critical information to your speakers as well, particularly if you plan on inviting them back.  After all, next year’s even better conference will only benefit from speakers with improved topics, delivery and research. While post-event surveys can serve this purpose, a good event app will have a feature that allows attendees to click stars after each session. Sharing this information with speakers helps them improve their presentations even more.  

Another place to share feedback is in your organization’s marketing materials, social media or any other promotion. Today’s consumers only rely peer reviews more than even organizer descriptions. Get those positive statistics and even encouraging messages into your website, email newsletter and social media posts. Don’t forget to reuse them to promote the next conference, too!  

#7. Let Whova help you

Executing those tips can be easier when you use a robust app that has easy-to-use attendee engagement features and templates. Please contact us to discover how Whova can help you interact with your attendees and collect useful feedback more effectively.  Save your precious time; we can help.

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