Are Your Respondents Exhausted from Survey Fatigue?
YES! Every day we are inundated with requests for feedback. As customers, as shoppers, as students, as employees, our opinions are sought after, begged for, over and over everyday when we leave the house or browse online.
As a meeting or event organizer/administrator, it is important to make your session evaluation tool stand out from the background noise of continual requests for feedback that are thrown at us. Like you, the folks attending your meeting are probably tired from survey inundation. There are a few best practices that can help you improve your response rates and get good, honest feedback from your survey-weary meeting participants.
Communication is Crucial
The best way to improve the engagement of your respondents is to communicate at every step of the process.
Why are they being asked to complete a session or speaker evaluation?
When do you expect them to fill out the rating form?
Who is going to have access to the results, and will confidential information be secure?
What will be done with the results? How will the information be used to improve future meetings?
Where can results be viewed? Will tabulated results and comments be accessible to attendees?
The more information you can share regarding your intentions and what you need from them, the better your chance of getting honest, engaged responses.
Make Your Conference Surveys Simple, Relevant and Accessible
Simplicity is key in getting good response rates and heart-felt feedback from your attendees. The fewer questions on your evaluation tool, the better. One organization that we worked with had only one item per speaker on their session evaluation.
How simple is that? The "five-star" rating systems has worked great for organizations such as Amazon.com or YELP. These folks took keeping it simple to heart! You may need more than one item to gather the feedback you need from your respondents, but simplicity is key. Hand your attendees a two page, densely packed speaker evaluation form and watch their eyes glaze over and their brains shut down.
Another key factor in the success of your session or speaker evaluations is accessibility. Are you using a paper form and allowing time at the end of sessions for completing it? Are you using a web survey or conference app to gather feedback? Give your attendees more options, and you will gather more quality responses! It is important NOT to assume that everyone has a mobile device or that everyone will take the time during the session to complete an evaluation form on paper. The more access you can provide to your evaluation tool, the better. Using a paper form that has a QR code for quick access to the same evaluation online is a great way to give your attendees options.
Conclusion–Apply the K-I-S-S Principle!
When creating content and designing a session evaluation or speaker evaluation for your next meeting or conference remember your respondent. You want to gather as much actionable data as possible, and your respondent group is weary from the day in, day out requests for feedback that we all encounter. For best results, communicate thoroughly and "keep it simple stupid!"