Why use a conference feedback template?
It’s often stressful enough when you’re in the middle of conference planning and firefighting hundreds of competing tasks and priorities, without having to think about the questions you’ll need for your conference survey, that will give you the valuable attendee feedback that your event’s future success depends on.
The benefits of capturing conference feedback
Before outlining some of the key benefits that can be gained through capturing conference feedback, it can be helpful to define exactly what a conference is, as they tend to follow a specific format and generally cater for a much narrower audience than would be the case for a more generic event.
Typically, the majority of conferences last for a minimum of one day and are used by businesses to provide information on a specific topic, to a specific audience. They are often used as a tool to educate and motivate attendees, as well helping to facilitate collaboration and engagement with that audience.
Conferences will typically include several keynote speakers and multiple breakout areas, where more in depth sessions on specific topics can be carried out. Conferences are a popular format for corporate events as they can be adapted to suit various stakeholders including employees, customers, resellers and other audience groups. They also provide an opportunity for the target audience to be absorbed into the brand.
There are a number of key benefits to be gained from using event surveys to collect stakeholder feedback.
When to use conference surveys
When it comes to using conference surveys, they are no different to other event surveys, in that you’ll still need to gather feedback at different stages of your conference.
Whether pre-conference, mid-conference or post-conference, surveys will let you maximise the benefits from collecting feedback, as we’ve outlined below. You’ll also need to ensure you’re asking the right event survey questions, if you’re to gather the data you need.
Depending on the nature of your conference, you may also consider introducing some more niche surveys into the mix. For example, if you had a food and drink element to your event, you may consider collecting hospitality feedback from your attendees.
Alternatively, if you had to host your conference in an area with little or no connectivity infrastructure, you may decide to run an offline survey to collect feedback from your stakeholders.
The great thing about asking for stakeholder feedback at this stage is the extra information it can help you to uncover, as well as creating extra noise and excitement in the lead up to your event.
For example, by assessing levels of interest and things that your attendees most want to see and hear about in the run up to your conference, it can enable you to tweak your conference itinerary. Let say, you issued a pre-event survey to let attendees vote on the speakers and the presentation content you had provisionally organised, getting them to rank it in order of their preferences.
Not only would this give them a teaser of what is happening at your event, it gives you the chance to tweak your conference line up to maximise the interest of your attendees once your conference begins.
Once your conference has started, it’s not too late to collect feedback. In fact, it’s essential to keep doing so, as it helps you to maintain a pulse on what’s happening in terms of what’s working, what needs improving and anything you need to work on as a result of any unforeseen circumstances that if left unattended could affect the very success of your conference.
There’s a whole raft of things you could potentially survey and collect feedback on from your attendees’ initial thoughts on the venue, registration process and the quality of your sound and lighting, to their initial views on your speakers and seminar content.
And this could be collected in a variety of different ways from QR codes on marketing literature or via an SMS survey, to emails or laptops positioned within feedback stations.
After your event has finished, you’ll be keen to know how successful you’ve been. But the post-conference stage also provides an opportunity to assess how well your marketing efforts performed and whether your budgets and timelines were realistic, based on the results you achieved.
From your choice of venue, speakers and presentation content to the tools you used to engage and collaborate with your audience, surveying at this stage provides a valuable insight into what worked and needs improving for your next event.
How to use the insights gained
Given the nature of the events industry and the standard debrief that happens following the end of any event, the insights gained through a conference survey, can be extremely valuable to this process.
From what went well and what areas could be improved, to what people found the most interesting or would like to see more of or included the next time around. Having analysed the feedback from your conference survey, you’re better able to identify any interesting patterns or surprises, as well as evaluate how well the conference supported your organisation’s mission and goals.
With all this information it’s simpler to agree your key metrics and goals, should you decide to run the conference again, as well as determining the key strategies you’ll need to reach out to your target audience.
For additional ideas to include in your questionnaire, see our list of conference survey questions. With topics including content and topics, speakers and presenters, logistics and organisation, venue and facilities, networking opportunities, overall experience and value, and feedback on digital components, you're sure to find ideas to use and adapt.