After hours of event planning sessions and even more hours of hard work, your event has come and gone. But it isn’t time to relax just yet!
You may think you put on a successful event but, obviously, you’re a little biased. No matter how perfect you think things went, it doesn’t mean others feel the same way or that there isn’t room for improvement.
By asking event attendees what they thought, you can gather a significant amount of feedback and insights that will not only help you evaluate your event but will help you better plan future offerings. Sure, feedback and event evaluation can sting, but they are necessary.
Here we’ll take a look at some tips that can help you create an engaging post-event survey as well as the most important post-event questions that you need to be asking your attendees!
Tips for Creating a Post-Event Survey
The goal of your survey should be to obtain honest and authentic feedback on various elements of your event, not bore respondents to tears!
The following tips can help you design a survey that gives you valuable information and encourages responses from attendees.
Types of Questions to Ask
There are a few different ways that event organizers can get feedback from attendees. By asking different types of questions, you can maximize the responses you receive and improve future events.
- Open-Ended Questions: These types of questions let the attendee really express themselves in a qualitative way. While this may produce a range of different responses from individuals, these responses can provide some great data and deep insights into what people are really thinking. Keep in mind to not go overboard with open-ended questions, however, as a long survey will often decrease the completion rate
- Yes/No Questions: These are questions with absolute answers. They can be used ahead of open-ended questions to help qualify the responses.
- NPS Questions: This is a question type that asks attendees to give feedback by rating a particular item or element on a numeric scale. These numbers can then be used to help you calculate your net promoter score. For more information about calculating the net promoter score, check out our post on the 9 Key Metrics for Tracking Event Success.
How to Write a Post-Event Survey
How you structure your survey and order your questions can play a role in the type and quality of responses you receive. Here are some tips that will help you write a more effective post-event survey that attendees will be happy to fill out:
- Keep it brief. Try to limit your survey to between 5 and 10 questions. Survey takers do not want to feel like they are writing their life stories (nor do you really want to spend time reading their life stories!). Focus your questions to not only get the feedback you consider most valuable for your evaluation process but ones that suit your event. Ask about the venue, the entertainment, catering, and any featured presenters.
- Start Generally. Begin your survey by asking a general question. Typically, you would ask about the attendee’s overall experience at the event. That way, if someone decides they’ve had enough of your questions and doesn’t complete the entire survey, you still have some usable data. In other words, get what you need up front!
- Next, ask your NPS Questions. This multiple choice-type question can (and should!) directly follow your general question about the overall experience. Often this question is phrased like this: On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend this event to someone else?
- Keep open-ended questions to a minimum. Open-ended questions take work. And the more work that goes into a survey, the more frustrated the attendee is likely to become, perhaps skewing the responses.
Who to Ask
While the primary focus of your post-event surveys will be event attendees, do not forget to create surveys that ask questions of your volunteers, performers/speakers, and event sponsors. Remember, getting feedback from as many people as possible will help you grow and develop your event planning skills!
Post-Event Survey Questions
Now that we’ve established the “how-to” side of things, it’s time to take a look at the post-event survey questions that you need to be asking.
How would you rate this event?
Whether you are hosting a conference, a training session, or a fundraiser, you will want to know what people thought of your event in general. Have them rate your event on a numerical scale, or you can frame it as a multiple choice question. Add an open-ended question below asking for more information about why they chose their rating.
How likely are you to recommend this event?
This is your net promoter question. You can use the responses from this question to calculate your NPS score which will tell you a great deal about the success of your event. If people are not willing to recommend your event, it is a sign that you failed to engage with and meet the expectations of attendees. If you receive low scores on this question, don’t be disheartened. Often negative feedback is the most constructive feedback you can receive.
How did you first learn about the event?
Asking this question will help you track the effectiveness of your event marketing. Make this a multiple choice question and include all of your marketing channels like your event website and social media channels. Also, be sure to Include a friend/family/colleague option, and an “other” option with a space to fill in the source.
Using an event app can provide real-time feedback in terms of ticket sales and web traffic, but that will not tell you the whole story. An answer to this question can help you further determine which marketing channels should receive more emphasis in the future. If no one saw your ad in the newspaper but they did see your ad in a particular trade publication, then you know next time around to skip the newspaper and instead spend that money on bigger and better ads in the publications your audience reads.
What did you hope to take away from today’s event?
This post-event survey question is best suited to conferences, education or networking sessions, and workshops. As an event organizer, it is important for you to know what motivates your attendees to attend. This type of data will help you plan future events by further focusing your efforts to meet those motivations.
If most of the attendees say “networking opportunities,” you know that there is an interest/need for this type of experience. Smart event planners will use this information to organize a future event that specifically meets this need. You may even discover a set of attendee goals you hadn’t even considered!
Depending on the length of your post-event survey, you might consider adding a followup question here that asks about the success of the event in meeting these attendee goals.
Which element of the event did you enjoy the most?
This is an open-ended question that allows attendees to express their thoughts on what they enjoyed the most about your event. This type of answer shows you all the elements that worked and are worth revisiting in the future.
Sometimes, your event can succeed in ways that were not even part of the planning process. The data gained from these answers can really help you get down to the nitty-gritty of what elements of your event attendees thought were most effective, and those that fell a little flat.
You may think that motivational speaker was a real hit but if they don’t appear in a single attendee response, well, and we hate to burst your bubble, they were obviously not that motivating. But here’s the thing, you wouldn’t know it didn’t work if you didn’t ask!
What, if anything, did you dislike about the event?
While it might sting, a little constructive feedback never actually hurt anyone. Some of the greatest insights you can gain can come from the answers to this question. In order to improve and organize more successful events in the future, you need to know what doesn’t work.
This question is likely to receive responses you hadn’t considered. For example, perhaps the registration process or event check-in was a point of contention for several attendees. Knowing this, you can make moves in the future, like using an event ticketing system, to decrease this dissatisfaction.
Again, you can’t improve flaws in your event if you don’t know what they are.
Are you likely to attend one of our events in the future?
This can be another one of your multiple-choice questions or it can be a sliding numerical scale. It will not only indicate enthusiasm for future similar events, but it can also give you a metric to work from for that future event. Compare the number of people who said they would return to the numbers of people that actually do.
Post-event evaluation is the only way to measure attendee satisfaction and the true success of your event. The answers to your questions will provide insights into your target audience and give you data you can use to improve future planning and marketing efforts.
When you better understand your attendees and what they are looking for, you can build upon that to plan bigger, better, and more successful events.