It is essential to evaluate your events. Evaluation can provide a qualitative measure of any aspect of your conference, seminar or exhibition.  It can be a valuable tool in planning your next event programme and will provide valuable insights into how you can improve and fine tune your marketing approach. 

The most common method of delegate evaluation is through the use of an evaluation form. The form should be designed as a questionnaire to gauge reactions to various components of your event. The design of the evaluation form should facilitate a quick and easy response and at the same time permit a more detailed reply.  

Evaluation form tips: 

  • Customise the form to fit the programme and structure of the event. Make it relevant.
  • Suggested areas to evaluate include: session content; event administration; networking opportunities; speaker handout materials; session facilitation; delegate pack contents; venue location; venue facilities; food and refreshments; event management on the day; pre-event marketing; the mix of delegates at the event; whether the event met advertised objectives; what actions delegates will take after the event.
  • Remember to use the opportunity to ask additional ‘profile building’ questions. E.g. what publications do delegates read? Which topics interest them most? This will be useful intelligence when planning your next campaign.
  • Make the form layout uncluttered and simple to complete. Use graphic devices such as arrows and tick boxes, choose easy-to-read fonts such as Times New Roman and don’t use fonts smaller than point size 10.
  • Provide reassurance. Either assure delegates that the information they provide is confidential, or ask permission to use their comments in future publicity material. This would depend on how you intend to use the information gathered.

Designing the form and asking the right questions is one thing, but ensuring that you get your delegates to complete the form is just as important. Below are some ideas which you may find useful.  
 
How to encourage evaluation form completion:

  • Direct delegates to the evaluation form in their delegate packs at the beginning of the day and explain how it works and what it will be used for.
  • Suggest to facilitators, speakers and event staff that they refer to the form throughout the day so that delegates can fill in sections as they go along.
  • Request that your speakers and facilitators leave time for the form to be completed and collected before the event close.
  • Encourage form completion by exchanging the evaluation form for an attendance certificate at the end of the programme. Or even in exchange for CPD points.
  • Create incentives. Offer a prize draw for those who return their evaluation form. Or offer an inexpensive but quality gift as an incentive to every delegate. Perhaps something provided by a sponsor?
  • Station event staff at the exits to ask for and collect forms as delegates leave.
  • Include your name and address on the bottom of the form for mailing after the event. Also offer a priority fax back-number.
  • Create an online version of the form. After the event, email a link to delegates who have not completed a form so that they can quickly complete and submit. This can be part of a thank-you-for-attending announcement or some added-value, post-event follow up.

Need some help implementing these ideas? 

DEC Marketing has extensive experience of evaluating all types of business events. From small conferences to full-scale learning/training programmes, we can help you conduct a comprehensive delegate feedback assessment. Whether it’s to create a one-off report or to set up a detailed learner database, we will help you put intelligent evaluation at the centre of your event marketing efforts.  Contact Andrew Dec on 01763 263420 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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