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Feedback: How and Why You Need It

Understanding your audience is paramount to creating a successful event. As an event planner, you know that even though you like an idea, doesn’t mean your audience does. Post-event surveys aren’t unheard of. They are one of the best methods to gaining valuable information. Using these methods enable you to receive important data to better your next event. However, have you considered conducting a pre-event survey? There are many ways to gain feedback, yet, there are 3 key stages of an event that you should be taking advantage of.
Feedback refers to gaining reactions based on something that has already taken place, right? By definition, yes, but, you can also install feedback methods before your event. The goal of this is to gain information on the following:
  • Audience 
  • Time
  • Value
Creating pre-event surveys helps to understand your audience in greater depth. Before you actually commit to the event. This then allows you to create an event that people will want to attend. By understanding your audience early, you will be able to implement what you have learnt for future events.
Including your audience in your decisions will make them feel more involved. Enabling your audience to take part in your decisions puts you one step closer to creating a strong community. Everyone feels apart of the end goal and that their decisions matter, which they do. It's important that you strengthen the bond between yourself and your audience. After all, without an audience, you don't have an event.  
More often than not, people would like to attend yet they cannot fit your event in their schedule. Whilst unfortunate, it is avoidable to some degree. Ask your potential attendees what date would best suit them out of the dates you have available. Having an idea of when would best suit your audience can increase attendance.  
Value is the main influence for success. If you cant provide value for your attendees then the chances of them returning is 0. Creating an event can be difficult if you don't know what your audience wants. You may be targeting music lovers, but that doesn't mean they will enjoy the genre you choose. 
Pre-event surveys give you the opportunity to understand what is important to your audience. By allowing them to select from multiple acts, genres and decisions that will make up your event, you can select what they will enjoy. Enabling you to double down on the most important act or item on the list. Providing further value for them and in turn; more engaged attendees. 
Whilst pre-event surveys can be beneficial, they won't be applicable to every event planner. To conduct these surveys you need an active audience base. This can prove very difficult to achieve if you are starting as an event planner. 
Another factor to consider is whether you actually need to conduct a survey. for example, if you are a band that perform set material, it's unlikely that your audience will be able to influence what you play. On the same note, you aren't likely to have control of the venue and what happens during your event. 
Whilst it may seem beneficial to send a survey to your audience, it's wasted time if there's no impact.
Empty seating
During the event
Attendees aren't likely to fill in a survey whilst your event is active. Yet, there are other methods you can take to gain feedback. Your audience has stronger opinions during your event. This is due to recently experiencing your event. More often than not, attendees will voice their negative opinions rather than their positives
Negative opinions should always be taken as constructive criticism. No event is perfect. Yet, this doesn't mean you can't take steps to perfection. No matter the event outcome, there will always be something you can improve on. 
That doesn't mean you should rely on your attendees to voice their opinions to you or a team member. Consider implementing live channels like:
- Email
- Tweets
- Feedback stations
These will allow your audience to voice their opinions whilst at your event. Making it easy and without the need for direct, awkward contact. Feedback stations are especially effective as they are then able to talk to a team member. This provides an outlet for attendees who wish to talk face to face. 
many events have been utilising social media to gain feedback. The main benefit of social media is that everyone can see every post and reply. If you do not have enough resources available then you may run into issues. You need to be able to track these and provide live, on time responses, then you may not wish to use it. Replying within seconds shows your attendees that you care about their voice and are searching for ways to improve. It also allows you to act on any serious enquiries or issues that arise. This can be especially impactful if you are running an event in a large venue. 
Trying to collect information and responses can be difficult if you are trying to multitask. if you are going to allow your audience to get in touch with you, allocate a team member to that role. 
We recently covered our top tips to post-event success where we highlighted the importance of feedback. It can be tempting to use the time after the event to relax and recover from everything that has happened. However, if you have not gained feedback during your event then it's necessary you do so after, and quickly.
To get the most reliable, passionate feedback, you need to engage with your audience within 2 days of your event. Your event is still fresh in their mind. Waiting beyond this point to get feedback will decrease the detail received.
The overall goal of post-event feedback differs from the previous methods. Your aim here is to gain important information to develop your future events. Ensure that the questions asked meet an end goal. Do you want to know a what they thought of a specific act? How did they enjoy the catering? Did they like the different speakers? etc. Choose what information you need carefully. Surveys shouldn't take any longer than 5 minutes to complete.  
Wondering how you can achieve post-event success? Check out: 4 Tips For Post Event Success

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