Honest Event Surveys: Can You Handle the Truth?

Honest feedback is the secret to planning a successful event. While you can follow trends in events, there’s nothing quite like getting information directly from the source—your attendees. Well-designed surveys are crucial to improving your product. Only attendees can provide you with real insight. So, consider incorporating surveys throughout the event timeline.

In the Beginning

You don’t have to guess what your attendees want—they’ll be more than happy to tell you. If this is your first event, send out emails to attendees with a list of questions. Ask about dietary restrictions, entertainment preferences and amount of time they’d like to spend in meetings. Do they prefer panels over breakout sessions? What matters most: time to network or breaks? These questions will help you form your agenda for the event.

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If this is an event you’ve thrown before, ask new attendees the above questions. For returning attendees, send out a survey with questions regarding their thoughts about the previous event. What did they feel missed the mark last time? What would they like to see this time that they felt was lacking before? What were the top three aspects that they liked? By asking both new and old attendees, you’ll be able to find compromise and cater to both groups.

During the Event

Social media allows for real time polling and Q&A. Use your Instagram stories and Twitter as a way to get feedback. If you’re posting about lunch, ask whether the chicken or the steak is reigning supreme. Take a picture of the DJ and ask what songs guests want to hear. As you prepare for a panel, use Slido to ask attendees what burning questions they have and add a few to the list. Not only is social media feedback important, it’s fun for attendees and makes them feel that they have a say in the event, too.

Don’t Forget to Follow Up

Post-event surveys are a must—they let you know what worked, what didn’t, whether attendees will come again and more. So, make the post-event survey your most thorough questionnaire.

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Ask everything about every aspect, from food to location and venue to guest speakers to cocktail hours. This is especially important for recurring events—you want to make sure your attendees feel heard. This way, they’re more likely to come to your event next time.

Send out post-event surveys soon after the event, but not immediately. Attendees may need time to rest and catch up on work, and filling out a long survey might miss their to-do lists. Wait a couple of days before filling their inbox. Attendees will feel less overwhelmed by it when they’re back in their rhythm.

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