Survey Systems Blog

Avoid Survey Fatigue!–Best Results from Conference Evaluations

Posted by Lynn Cunningham on Oct 16, 2013 2:32:00 PM

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.

Session Evaluation Rating Scale

How simple is that? The "five-star" rating systems has worked great for organizations such as 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!" 


Session Evaluation with QR Code, Scantron Forms


Topics: session evaluation, Customer Satisfaction, speaker evaluation form

Overall Conference Evaluations–A Blueprint to Plan Your Next Event!

Posted by Lynn Cunningham on Jul 26, 2013 1:01:00 PM

The overall conference evaluation is a special tool that enables you to hear the voice of your consumer, and gives you an opportunity to plan your next event to best meet their needs and expectations.

Are You Listening?

An overall conference evaluation is the perfect tool to measure the satisfaction of your attendees and get their feedback as to how the meeting might be improved in coming years. If you are not taking advantage of this opportunity, you may want to reconsider. Feedback from participants is the best resource for planning future events and meetings. A well thought out overall evaluation will uncover a treasure trove of ideas, suggestions and constructive criticism (That's right, not everyone will love every part of your conference!) covering all angles of your meeting.

Conference Evaluation Sample, Scantron Forms

Evaluation Categories

Most overall conference evaluations are broken up into several categories regarding different aspects of your meeting or conference. This keeps the evaluation interesting, and breaks it up into smaller, less daunting sections. As with session evaluations, close-ended questions with a likert rating scale will return consistent, actionable data for determining what worked and what did not work. Some often used categories are:

  • Overall - questions regarding expectations, value, plans to attend next year, location, etc.

  • Conference Services - registration, meals, accommodations, meeting room comfort, helpfulness of staff, etc.

  • Content & Delivery - mix of session topics, relevance of topics, overall quality of speakers and keynotes, etc.

  • Decision to Attend - what marketing or communication influenced your decision to attend (very helpful in targeting marketing for next year).

  • Demographic Information - type of organization, role, ethnicity, gender, years experience, etc.

  • Future Meeting/Conference Preferences - suggestions for locations, speakers, and topics for future meetings. 

Open-Ended Questions

Most overall conference evaluations will have several open-ended items as well as a section for the attendee to give any additional comments they may have regarding the meeting. It is important to have a place where attendees can share their ideas and experiences in their own words. These comments, or responses to questions such as "what did you like most about this event?" or "what did you like least about this event?" will really highlight the areas that need improvement as well as the areas that are working well. Listening to your consumer and making changes based on their's a good thing!

What to do With All This Useful Data?

Plan to share and communicate the tabulated results and comments from your overall evaluation with key stakeholders, including program staff, speakers/presenters, and even participants. By sharing the ratings and sentiments with participants, you show that their voice is important and encourage response on future evaluations. This great data you have collected will help make your next meeting or conference even better!

For a more in-depth look at the conference evaluation process, plus several actual evaluation form samples, download our free Conference Evaluation Planning Guide. This helpful guidebook will get you started creating a unique, useful data collection tool for your next meeting, workshop or conference.

Download Our Conference Evaluation Planning  Guide and Start to Measure Your Success!



Topics: scantron form, Survey Systems, speaker evaluation form, conference evaluation

Conference Session Evaluations–Getting More With Less

Posted by Lynn Cunningham on Jul 12, 2013 2:58:00 PM


Session Evaluations–Less Nets More

The easier you make it for attendees to evaluate your session or meeting, the better and more meaningful the responses you will receive. Trying to obtain too much information will most likely decrease the response rate and the "engagement level" for your evaluation. The best, most effective conference or session evaluation will have less than ten questions in a format that allows attendees to rate the session before leaving the meeting room. Try to limit your data collection to information you are sure will be useful.

Session Evaluation with QR Code, Scantron Forms

What Do You Really Want to Find Out from the Audience?

There are five basic types of information that session evaluations are usually used to collect. Using these categories as guidelines, what would you really like to find out?

• How effective/knowledgeable was the presenter?

• How useful/beneficial was the content presented?

• What is your personal reaction to the session (were you satisfied with it)?

• Were the objectives met?

• Demographic information about the attendees.

One well-worded question from each of the first four categories is all that is needed to make an useful, easy to complete session evaluation. If your organization also utilizes an overall meeting/conference evaluation, the demographic questions can be saved for that questionnaire. 

What Question Format Works Best?

The simplest and best question format for session evaluation forms is the close-ended question. A multiple choice, likert scale rating, or simple yes/no question format is better than open-ended questions on this type of survey form. Open-ended questions provide a flexible way for folks to offer up their thoughts and ideas, but they are also time consuming, both for the respondent and for the people processing the completed forms. Open-ended questions also result in a lot of unnecessary and sometimes irrelevant information being collected. A good multiple choice or rating scale question is quick and easy to respond to and doesn't require a great amount of thought. An open-ended comment section added to the end of an evaluation form will usually be utilized by less than 50% of those responding.

Getting the Greatest Number of Responses

The best time to administer the session evaluation is near the end of the session itself, while you have a captive audience. Allowing a short period of time at the end of each session for completing questionnaires should result in your session evaluation having a great response rate because:

• The form is short and sweet! There are only five or six items.

• The questions are well thought out, close-ended, interesting and easy to answer quickly.

• You have convieniently provided time at the end of the session for responding.

• The details of the session are fresh in the respondents mind.

• You have provided a box or envelope to put the evaluation forms in, so there is a degree confidentiality.

What To Do With All This Useful Data?

Plan to share and communicate the tabulated results from your session evaluation with key stakeholders, including program staff, speakers/presenters, and even participants. Using these results, you can easily see who the best, most effective, most popular speakers are. You will be able to determine which topics were a hit and which topics you may not want to repeat. This great data you have collected will help make your next meeting or conference even better!

For a more in-depth look at the session evaluation process, plus several actual session evaluation form samples, download our free Conference Session Evaluation Planning Guide. This helpful guidebook will get you started creating a unique, useful data collection tool for your next meeting, workshop or conference.

Download Conference Session  Evaluation Guide with Samples!



Topics: scantron form, session evaluation, speaker evaluation form, sample evaluation form