Dear Meeting Guru,

"How can we evaluate a large meeting event that a team of 25 people helped plan? We want positive and negative feedback."

Anonymous

Blessed Meeter,

Meetings are about pleasing two groups, the attendees and the people hosting the meeting. To find out if your meeting was successful you’ll need to consult both groups. Attendees will tell you if they’ve benefited from the meeting, while stakeholders will tell you whether you’ve accomplished the goals for the event.

Attendee Evaluations
Ask attendees to fill out anonymous paper surveys after the event or at certain points throughout the event. Ask specific questions like, “What would you change for next time?” and “What did you like best and why?” to generate positive and negative feedback. Ask for specific examples of problems or successes and suggestions for how things could be done better.

You can also create online surveys, but if people can’t complete them until they get back to their offices, the details of the meeting may not be fresh in their minds or they may forget to fill out the survey.

Internal Evaluations
When you plan the event, ask management and planning team members to list their goals for it. The goals will depend on the purpose of the meeting, but a couple of examples are:
generating awareness and media interest for a company, product or cause.
providing the tools and space for attendees to make a decision or share ideas and experiences about a specific topic.

You could also create some more specific goals, such as hosting over 200 attendees, building a relationship with a specific group, etc.

Ask for anonymous feedback about these goals through a survey or hold a meeting to discuss the positive and negative outcomes of the event and decide if the event goals were met.

As U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell once said, “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, learning from failure.” You are wise to want to hear people’s feedback about your meeting event. Gathering comments may seem like a lot of extra work after all the effort you’ve put into planning and actually putting on the event, but this extra step will help make your next meeting event even more successful.

Until next time… may good meeting karma always be with you.

 

 


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