Post last updated on February 10, 2016.
The vendors have been paid, attendees have gone home, and the cleanup crew is done. Time to head home for some much-anticipated rest, right?
Not so fast. First, it’s survey time.
Much has been written about the kinds of questions you should be asking, but what about survey questions to avoid? Believe it or not, this matters. If you ask the wrong questions the wrong way, you won’t get the smart intel you need to make your next event even better.
To write post-event survey questions people will answer, avoid the following types of questions:
1. Question #39
If your survey extends this far, your audience is unlikely to stick around. People are pressed for time, which is why brief surveys tend to have higher response rates. Keep it short and sweet, sticking to a handful of event survey questions that will get the feedback you really need. A good rule of thumb is to keep your surveys to twelve or fewer questions.
Here’s an example of a concise post-event survey:
2. How were the cupcakes?
Oh wait, you didn’t get a cupcake? Oops. This kind of mistake can occur if you don’t first get into the mindset of your audience. If your event was small and everyone was in the same room, a single survey may suffice. But if there were breakout sessions—a training seminar with beginner, intermediate, and advanced tracks, for example—use Conditional Logic to tailor the questions based on your attendee’s experience. This method will provide different speakers and organizers with relevant feedback for next time. And if you didn’t offer dessert to everyone? It’s time to come up with another question you need answered.
3. Can you tell us about your favorite session?
Leave the essay questions for school teachers. Event attendees are often just as ready to head home and relax as you are, and they feel little investment in your survey. The faster they can respond, the more likely you are to get what you need. Use radio buttons, dropdown lists, and matrix fields wherever possible.
4. How plausible is it that you would go on record advocating for or extolling a similar proceeding to a comrade?
Skip the jargon. Use plain English and straightforward language. If respondents can’t understand what you’re asking, they won’t know how to answer. In the example above, simply ask if they’d be likely to recommend a similar event to colleagues in the future. Then move on. (Pro tip: Not sure if your surveys use jargon? Test out questions at unsuck-it.com.)
5. How awesome was our event?
Even if you’re hoping to impress your boss, don’t ask leading questions like this one. If you want honest answers, fill your post-event survey with unbiased, neutral questions.
The Questions You Should Be Asking
Now that you know what to avoid, you may be wondering what questions will work to your advantage. Check out these best practices for formatting great survey questions that will get answered.
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