An event planner’s work is never done, not even when the event itself is finished. Just as important as getting all the details right before your event, is the work which is left to do right after the event itself!
An event debrief is a meeting with your team where you carefully deconstruct and analyze a previous event. A thorough event debrief will help you identify what went right, what went wrong, and what could be better next time. If you don’t take the time to review your events, you may miss out on important opportunities to correct mistakes and make important improvements.
Why is event “Debriefing” important?
Even when an event seems to have gone off without a hitch, there are always elements that could be improved—that’s where a post-event debrief with your team becomes important. Taking time to debrief an event offers many benefits including gaining valuable feedback, streamlining your process, enhancing the attendee experience and further development of relationships with sponsors, vendors and staff.
By taking time after the event to capture your notes and thoughts, your events will improve every edition or year! In addition, if it becomes necessary to hand over your event to someone else, you’ll be setting them up for success by having everything documented.
Debriefing starts DURING your event
Before your event is over, take time to write down the logistics what you want to remember, as you might forget some details when the event is busy.
Take into account the following:
- How many people showed up at the event? What is the percentage female/male guests?
- Did this influence the catering and/or left overs?
- Were timings respected?
- Did you realize any bottlenecks or problems du to set up and to prevent them in the future?
- Did you foresee sufficient staffing to assist your guests during registration/cloakroom service, for give always or any other question during the event?
- Did your sponsors and partners get sufficient visibility?
- Write down the things that you liked about the venue and the ones you want to improve.
Debriefing AFTER your event
After your event, you’ll want to get evaluations of all the persons involved in the event. Gather as many information you can get to evaluate the whole picture.
1. Send out an Event Survey to your participants
Use a questionnaire covering as many aspects of the event as possible such as invitation process, event program event logistics so that you can use the information during the event debrief.
You can get this kind of feedback in three different ways:
- Make your event survey available during the event by setting up a booth where they can leave their comments. This way you get their feedback when it’s fresh in their mind.
- Mail the event survey a few days after the event. This is a great addition to your ‘thank you email’. Host the survey as a form on your website so they can fill it out quickly.
- Ask feedback through an event app (if you are using one). This is maybe the most interactive way of receiving feedback. Make sure that the results of this survey are available for your event debriefing session.
2. Invite the most important parties to your debrief
Key players can provide important information since they often have a different opinion on things. If your organization team is small team, it’s fine to invite everyone. If many persons have been involved make sure you have a representative of each key function (on-site event crew, the hosting venue, any logistic partners, a speaker, or sponsor and eventually even a colleague who attended the event.
This will give you the opportunity to collect valuable input from different point of views and will facilitate future collaboration.
3. Set a detailed agenda and make use of a moderator
It’s important to hit the key items of your event: Registration, catering, setup, speakers/entertainment, signage/decor etc. Furthermore, it’s important to designate someone to lead the discussion so the conversation doesn’t become chaotic.
4. Start with your objectives, listen carefully to don’t forget to make a summary
Before you start discussing each event aspect, quickly go through your goals and objectives. This will help you and the team to generate the best feedback. The easiest way to conduct an event debriefing is to use an event debrief template.
5. Use the data and make it available for others
Perhaps the most important step: once you’ve collected data from your event debrief meeting and/or survey, it’s important to use it for all future events. To ensure document your notes and action somewhere your team can access at any time.
Are you inspired to organize your next event?
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