Increasing Survey Responses for Conference Workshops

13 Nov

I wIncrease Workshop Feedbackas a little disappointed in the amount of feedback I received after presenting at a recent national grant conference. The conference organizers had switched to all electronic feedback forms.

Using electronic forms to capture workshop or class feedback has its benefits. The number one benefit may be that it decreases data entry time for the conference organizers.

But moving away from paper feedback forms can easily decrease your responses rate, as I saw. You must then pay extra attention to the ways you encourage and motivate your session attendees to give formal feedback.

Here is a simple-to-follow plan that you could use to increase feedback after your next conference, workshop, or class.

Build time into the schedule

When you create your schedule, make sure to mark specific five minute blocks after each session for feedback. It might look like this:

  • 8:00 Registration and refreshments
  • 8:30 Session 1
  • 9:15-Feedback forms open for Session 1
  • 9:30 Session 2
  • 10:15 Feedback forms open for Session 2
  • 10:20 Networking block
  • 11:00 Plenary Session
  • 12:00 Feedback forms open for Plenary Session
  • etc.

Announce the feedback forms

Additionally, if you have room monitors of any kind, make it an important part of their job to announce to the conference attendees that the time to give feedback is now, immediately after each session. Announce it before people leave.

If you don’t have room monitors, write up a short script for each presenter and build it into their duties to announce the feedback forms. It is for their benefit!

Send scheduled emails to the attendees

To pull this all together, use your email service to create scheduled emails to send five minutes before the scheduled end of each session. This way your room monitor or presenter can tell the attendees at the end of the session to check their inbox and fill out the feedback form while still sitting in the session.

For certain, a service like Mailchimp has this feature and can help you make your conference or workshop look super organized.

Advanced method – Create Pre-filled URLs for forms

If you use a service like Google Forms (which is free), you can create pre-filled forms by building special URLs (links). This makes things easier for the user so that she/he can click the link of his/her session instead of clicking a general link and then struggling to find their session from a drop down list. Try these examples below:

Clicking on any of these will allow you to go directly to the form with the session you clicked already filled in. This type of list is what would go in your scheduled email.

Conclusion – Improving conference or workshop feedback response rates

Using just these few simple methods can increase your conference or workshop feedback rates. It takes a bit of planning ahead but will be well worth the effort.

As always, if you have any questions or would like help implementing any of these ideas, please contact me by filling out the form below. Or, email me at michael.e.roman@gmail.com. Thanks!

Bonus Idea

For each feedback question, create a conference-wide benchmark to give to your presenters along with their individual feedback. Just giving a presenter his/her individual feedback won’t give him/her a sense of how they compared to other presenters across the conference.

Ask me a question about your feedback forms

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