The post-event survey is one of the most important places where an event planner can collect information.
While the pre-event polls are all about driving engagement and readying attendees for the event itself, post-event surveys are for an event planner’s benefit. Immediately post-event, attendees are finished with their networking and sessions—but everything is still fresh on their minds.
This is a crucial time for planners. By capturing the opinions and information very soon after the event, planners can get a more accurate understanding of how things went from an attendee’s perspective. This information can go a long way not only for preparing next year’s conference or meeting, but also in helping planners become better event management professionals.
But what are the right questions to ask? How can you be sure to get all the information you need to make better events year over year?
Here’s a quick guide to creating the perfect post-event survey for your particular event.
Post-Conference Survey Questions
Conferences are a different beast from internal meetings or customer events. Typically these attendees came with professional and self development in mind. Their goals were likely around networking, industry learning, or resource research. Keep these in mind as you evaluate how the event could have been improved.
Your Post-Conference Survey Should Cover:
What attendees’ goals were going in
Although a planner should have event goals and objectives in mind going in to the planning, it’s important to consider attendees’ perspectives. Where did their goals overlap with yours—or how didn’t they?
The quality of the keynote speakers
Keynotes have a big impact on the overall tone of the event. Ask about your industry keynote speakers as well as the celebrity ones to get a full picture of how your keynotes were received.
It can be difficult post-event to ask attendees about each individual session—that should really be done during the event!—but this is a great time to get a sense of what topics, and speakers, stood out to attendees overall.
The length of sessions vs break times
One thing that stands out to me at every conference is break times. Sometimes it’s good (there was lots of time to network!) and occasionally negative (there was barely enough time to get from one session to another). It’s very helpful to get this info from your attendees—is it a matter of venue size, or incentives towards networking, or do people just want to get to their sessions quickly?
Post-Meeting (Internal) Survey Questions
Smaller internal meetings may not need a post-event survey, but larger ones such as an AGM, or worldwide meet-up of your executives and stakeholders could benefit. The goals for this type of event is dependent on the purpose of the meeting, whether that’s training new employees, kicking off for the sales team, or an opportunity for your global employees to touch base and share information.
Your Post-Meeting Survey Should Cover:
Takeaways about the organization moving forward
With an internal meeting, it’s important to gauge how well attendees understood the content, especially as it relates to the organization’s overall goals and objectives. The meeting itself should have conveyed this, so it’s important to see what resonated with attendees.
Next steps for the attendee
Now that your attendees have connected to the organization, you want to look at the other half of the equation: how does the organization impact the attendees? Getting an understanding of what takeaways most directly impacts the attendee will help you to understand overall how attendees see themselves fitting into the organization.
Areas of improvement
At an internal meeting, it’s also important to take attendees’ opinions into account. Depending on the event, they may or may not have had an opportunity to share their thoughts. The post-event survey is a great place to do this, whether it’s asking for their feedback on new company policies, concerns, or other areas.
Post-Event Survey Questions for Sponsors and Exhibitors
While they can be overlooked, post-event surveys for your sponsors and exhibitors are an additional, important source of information on the participants of your event. An exhibitor’s objectives are likely different from yours and your attendees, but they will have interesting perspective on attendee interaction, and which parts of the event worked for them—or not.
Your Post-Event Survey for Sponsors Should Cover:
Their interactions with attendees
Your sponsors pay to have face time with attendees. It’s important to get a measure of whether they felt like their efforts were worth it—this could make or break their continued sponsorship of the event.
Their content or brand exposure
Depending on the type of sponsorships your event offers, it is a good idea to check in to see if your content advertising efforts paid off. Whether that was in the form of in-app banner ads, logo placement on signage, or notifications pointing to sponsored content, you want sponsors to feel that their content got decent exposure to attendees.
Booth traffic and interest
For your exhibitors especially, make sure to ask whether they received a good amount of floor traffic and interest in the product—not just the giveaway items! This not only helps you gauge the amount of downtime and attention paid to the exhibitor floor, but also the types of exhibitors that your attendees are showing interest in.
Session feedback (if any)
Oftentimes, sponsors and exhibitors will also host sessions at your event. Check in to see their take on it, including logistical concerns, attendee interest, and attendance and participation. This information will help as you evaluate the sessions and improve the selection for following years.
Why Your Post-Event Survey Matters
Your post-event survey is just as important as your follow-up communications—and performs a task vital to the ongoing health of your events and professional development.
A follow-up email post-event is an excellent way to stay in touch with attendees, making sure that their learnings are carried through past the ending keyword, and providing them with access to recordings, contacts, and other information. It’s a great way to ensure that the relationship continues!
Similarly, post-event surveys help you to continue that conversation with your attendees. No matter if you do the traditional email route, or capture their attention immediately post-event with an in-app notification and survey, post-event surveys are a mine of information that is crucial to the continued development of your event and event strategy.
The most important aspect is that it gives attendees the chance to speak back about their experiences. By paying attention to what attendees, sponsors, and exhibitors are saying, planners are able to continue to grow as professionals and create improvements year over year.