To say that April is a busy month at Georgia Tech would be an understatement, but how else can you describe it? It is not just the end of semester, but the end of academic year with the end of fiscal year looming right behind it. However, we cannot move into the calm until we evaluate our past actions. Laura touched on a post-event evaluation in her previous post, Summertime…and the Living is Easy. I’m here to look a little deeper into the process – the who, the what, and the how.
Who do we ask to evaluate?
Most Georgia Tech events have three key groups: your guests, your VIPs, and your vendors. It's important to evaluate them before you let them evaluate you. Be sure to ask yourself:
- How large is this group and can I properly manage that level of feedback? (Could you imagine if we sent a survey to everyone who attended Commencement?)
- How educated is this group about this type of event?
- How responsive is this group to feedback?
I find the most useful feedback comes from your VIPs and your vendors. They are small enough to manage the feedback, are educated in events to recognize the good and "needs improvement" elements, and often respond to feedback requests.
What do we ask them to evaluate?
I sense this can be expanded into another blog article in itself, but I'll keep it short:
- Did the group understand the event's purpose?
- Did the group feel the elements of the event matched the event purpose?
- How did the timing of the event feel (This is not only the day and time of the event, but also the length and if things ran on time.)
- Would that group be a part of the event again in the future?
Always leave a comment box for ay additional comments. You may miss out on the most important feedback because it does not fit into a checkbox.
What tools can we use to evaluate?
I am sure there are multiple methods out there, but my two favorite methods to suggest are my two favorite things: simple and free.
- Survey Monkey- If you have not used this website yet, be sure to check it out. Survey Monkey offers free and paid services, is easy to put together, and presents an easy-to-read final report. When you are reaching out to larger groups, this is my suggestion.
- Email- If you have a smaller group or want to keep it personal, email is your best method. I often include a solicitation for feedback with my thank yous. The downside to email is that it is hard to structure the feedback. Also, you may not get as many honest, hard truths that you are looking for because there is no anonymity.