What problem does this solve?
Post-event surveys are a great way to gather feedback and contact information from participants. Unfortunately, people often don't fill them out.
Emailed surveys may get lost in the participant's inbox (if you managed to gather their email addresses in the first place!). And by the time an electronic survey is sent out, many people will have moved on to other things: the event is no longer fresh in their minds, and even the people who respond may not offer the most useful feedback. It's much better to capture their opinions on the spot, if at all possible.
Delivering your feedback survey during the event by sending out roving volunteers with clipboards can help, but this approach also has problems: filling out a survey on a clipboard is awkward, and if the volunteer just passes out the survey it may get shuffled in with other papers and forgotten.
Is there a solution?
Yes! One way is to set up tables at the main exit points. Put a stack of surveys and pens on each table. Staff each table with one or two friendly event staff who are willing to invite people to fill out surveys as they leave. Display enticing gifts or treats on each table (such as a bowl of branded pens, stickers or lapel buttons, or a large plate of cookies) to lure people over as they leave.
If it can be worked into the presentation, consider including a brief reminder to participants about how important it is for you to get their opinions of the event so you know how to improve the next one (at the start and/or the end often works well). Here's an example:
- "... And just a reminder that as you leave, we're offering little treats or small gifts to all those who fill out a survey at one of our tables over there—it will only take you two minutes and what you write will make a difference to the way we design our future events."
- "... Well, we've been doing most of the talking, but now it's time for you to give us information as you leave. ..."
The key is to make participants feel important; they are, after all, the reason for the event. The advantage of talking up the survey at the start is that it can be one way of welcoming people into engaging during the event.
Another method is for the last person speaking to announce that they're finishing a couple of minutes early "so you'll all have time to write your feedback as you leave ...".