15 Ideas To Collect Feedback At Events

Feedback is an essential development and improvement tool, but submission rates can be low. Here are 15 ideas to collect it more effectively for your event.

Understanding how your attendees are feeling about your brand or event is essential when improving user experience for the future and the more constructive feedback the better. No feedback is bad feedback because even if it is negative it allows you to understand the areas you need to work harder on next time. The problem is, getting feedback from attendees can be difficult, particularly if you are looking for something more in depth because it can be time consuming and no one wants to interrupt their event experience. However, there are plenty of ways to incorporate quick and easy satisfaction surveys at your event, as well as longer term feedback, which you can incentivise. Here’s some ideas for all event types to get you started.

Types of Feedback

Instant – This involves getting live or real-time answers that are quick and easy for the attendee as well as yourselves when it comes to compiling the data and tends to be the favoured or most likely to get answers with minimal effort. Generally instant feedback are yes or no/good or bad questions that are one way or the other.

Delayed – More valuable for the event organisers but time consuming for the attendee. Incentives can help increase feedback rates. These are the opportunity to involve in depth and more complex questions.

15 Ideas To Collect Feedback At Events
  1. Low-Tech Methods

Gain some snapshot feedback via a simple and no-tech show of hands to gauge the mindset of your attendees immediately. Don’t ask pointless questions such as “raise your hand if you have enjoyed the event” instead pick the questions well and ask quick fire questions such as “raise your hand if you have met at least one new contact today?” and “raise your hand if you have learnt something today which will change your way of working in the short or long term?” Ensure that these do not run on too long and you can make them less obvious by adding some fun or alternative questions to keep attendees engaged. Alternatively you could share red and green cards in the delegate bags for a visual photo opportunity or use meeting design techniques such as body voting.

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  1. Live Social Media Updates

Social media is where your attendees are likely to talk about your brand or event so monitor your major accounts to see if you have been mentioned or tagged and respond accordingly. You can also ensure people can “check-in” at your event so you know which attendees are there and what they are saying. A social wall at the event can be a fun and interactive way for attendees to provide feedback.

You can also create polls on Twitter and use the Facebook emoticons (Like, Love, Wow) for people to feedback their answer or preference.

  1. Facial Recognition

The technology exists to track the feelings of your attendees via facial recognition. Data from cameras placed around the event can recognize attendees and report back on how they are feeling based on what their face is telling the system. Neat!

  1. Feedback Buttons

Have stations around your events near specific areas you want feedback on or simply the exit which have buttons to click answering a question. Alternatively, you can opt for emotion buttons signalling happy or sad which can be attached to a question board or relate to the event overall. These are quick, easy and efficient (and people love pressing buttons!) but the only downside is there is generally no way to change your answer so if people make a mistake it can sometimes get lost in translation.

  1. Comment Cards

If you are looking for general feedback but don’t have specific prompts that you want to target, comment cards can be useful and easily dotted around your event. Remember to have a place or member of staff to collect them and be sure to read every one.

  1. User Testing

On specific products or brands you can encourage free user testing options at your event in exchange for a feedback questionnaire completion or a recorded interview on the product. Depending on the product or service this exclusive access can be appealing to the attendee and perhaps they will agree to contribute to future beta testing in the future.

  1. Email Follow Ups

Particularly if you are looking for feedback on your processes pre or post event, an email follow-up can be a useful tool. You might just want to encourage free-flowing and unprompted feedback and replying to an email request is a quick and efficient way for most people to do this.

Alternatively incorporate a simple feedback question and response buttons at the bottom of a confirmation email asking “how did we do?”.

  1. Wearable Technology

As VR technology increases, so does it’s wearable technology and the #FeelWinbledon campaign from Jaguar and Wimbledon created a unique opportunity to sense the mood of fans in real-time thanks to biometric sensors, which could then be experienced in VR. A physical insight into your event such as this can prove particularly useful if you are trying to get feedback on how your attendees are feeling or their behaviour reasoning, without them having to do anything other than having their natural physical emotions measured.

  1. Competitions

Gauging how involved your attendees are or their feelings towards a partner or sponsor can be easily measured by creating competitions on social media and merely seeing how many enter and how fast it spreads. “Which is better” contests also allow attendees and users to help make brand or product decisions to improve sales or the way in which they are received or to meet demand.

Creating campaigns that require shares on social media can also boost branding and marketing while gauging how much reach your attendees have as well as how passionate they are about certain brands, products or your event. Unlock the creativity of those attending by creating a caption competition or asking them why they should be the worthy winner of a specific prize. You can also include feedback as part of the pre-requisite for entry however this may lead to biased results!

  1. Floating Staff

At exhibitions or trade shows have feedback staff that “float” and engage with attendees by asking them about their experiences and how they are finding the event so far. It is important to get engaging staff that won’t feel fake or forced who can have a genuine conversation and be helpful while also gathering information.

Alternatively, you could even have undercover staff interacting with attendees and getting the general “feel” of a group to see how well things are being received, without them being identifiable as event staff.

  1. Event App

Incorporating feedback options into an event app can be an easy, seamless option and require minimal collection planning as automatic push notifications can be sent via the app. The results can be displayed in real time and show bar or pie charts to match your event branding. As well as surveys you can use polls (see below), vote up the statements which resonate the most with attendees or some apps even allow visual data to be collected with answer data displayed as heatmaps. By using technology you can have real time data to analyze immediately.

  1. Live Polling

For conferences and meetings or during conference panel discussions live polling can be a useful tool to interact with the audience and see current trends or habits in real-time that can allow you to adjust the event itself to cater to audience wants and needs. It can involve thought-provoking questions or simply emotions but either way it generates audience engagement!

For competitions or anonymous feedback you don’t have to track answers to an individual and polls can be conducted via an event app, on social media, via a web tool, using voting keypads or simply by a count of hands.

  1. Exit Badge Bins

Incorporating a purpose for event badges to be returned and recycled at the end of an event, as well as being a great feedback opportunity, are badge bins on the exits that allow attendees to place their name badges in whichever bin they agree with (e.g. loved the event or hated the event). Commonly it is used to denote whether an attendee had a good experience or not and allows organisers to follow up with negative feedback for more in depth answers and results (as you will have the name badge of the attendee).

The only downside to this is that many don’t like to openly give negative feedback, particularly for business or corporate events so this may skew the responses.

  1. Feedback Wall

Doing something physical and providing feedback in a visual way can get people thinking, circulating and providing constructive feedback. Using stickers, cards or Post-It notes are a great way to incorporate your event theme into the feedback itself. Leave some time within the event and simply outline a few key questions (add the question at the top to avoid confusion) and ask for people to add their thoughts to the wall. You might ask “what have we done well?”, “what could we do better?” and “what will I do as a result of today?” You can make the stickers or cards to suit the theme, for example martini glasses for cocktail events or running trainers for a sporting event.

  1. Paper Survey Forms

Although technology offers the most efficient way to gain feedback, paper surveys can still have a place, particularly with certain audiences. A useful idea is to leave them on tables at sit-down events and to ask for them to be completed to draw attention to them. Keep them short and to incentivise responses, offer free entry to the next event or a prize a sponsor has donated. Perhaps offer a paper and a digital version of the survey so people can complete in the way that works best for them.

In Conclusion

Constructive feedback is important to keep your events continuously improving and evaluation data from your attendees will be an important part of the event debrief. There are lots of ways to collect feedback and by using a few different approaches you can get a clearer picture of the event as a whole and appeal to your attendees to respond in a way that suits them. Click here for more ideas for collecting real time event feedback.

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Julius Solaris
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