Event Feedback: nourishment for meetings innovation

April 20, 2011

Today I came across an awesome blog post about the upcoming BlogWorld Expo. Apparently the organizers of the Expo had slowly eliminated a segment of their original community at their events, as other segments of their market took priority. One delegate, unhappy with the situation, did far more than just send a negative survey response. She actually took the time to create a fantastic solution and present that to the event organizers.

The ultimate result is that a special podcasting pavilion will be set up for this community segment. Imagine how this could impact their event…increased sponsorship opportunities for specialized products, increased satisfaction for minority community members, increased attendance numbers for attendees who’ve decided to come back after many years…are you getting the idea? Lots of pluses there!

There are a few lessons from this situation:

  1. First, Lynette, the attendee who came up with the idea, is a genius for taking it to the street! If you attend events and aren’t pleased with the results, why not take the time to explain why. Find a possible solution and share it with the organizers. They will, most likely, be extremely grateful.
  2. Next, hooray for BlogWorld! They actually listened and saw the value and potential for implementing Lynette’s solution! I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to actually *do* something with feedback. It’s not just for reports and spreadsheets, but should really be analyzed and interpreted.
  3. This is where social media can be SO useful. The psychology of surveys lends itself to negative replies. However, passive feedback from conversations and listening is crucial for truly knowing what people think about your event.
  4. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your event formatting, even if you start with baby steps. Maybe just change around one or two elements at first and explain to everyone that there is the potential for failure but based on their feedback, you’re making some changes.
  5. Have conversations with your community members. Engage with them on a personal level. Find out what they want, need, dream about.

When analyzing feedback, it can be extremely useful to have an outside consultant provide this service.
Let me explain why. Most event planners pour their heart and soul into producing a perfect attendee experience. Having an independent party review your results can take some of the sting off of what can feel like a personal slight. (I always like the stories from event planners who grab the bottle of wine – or tequila – before sitting down to sift through survey results!) You can also engage them to sort through and evaluate intel captured through social media channels.

Here’s Lynette’s full post, if you’d like to read it.