Why Your Conference Feedback Loop is Broken and What to do About It
Mar 28, 2014 by DeDe Mulligan

feedback

Feedback is meant to help people improve and be successful. Yet, many planners use a mechanism to gather feedback –  through paper, Audience Response System rentals, or mobile device apps – but don't really do anything with the results. 

Feedback is defined in one of two ways: 

  1. Reactions to a product, a person's performance of a task and used as a basis for improvement and/or 
  2. The modification of a process or system by its results or effects

Most organizers focus on the first definition and follow this event planning feedback loop 

Presenter talks > Attendees are polled > Results are gathered > Presenter gets results
> Improvements are made for next year

The problem with this loop is by the time the speaker and the event planner gets the results, the damage is already done. The attendees have already decided your meeting or event is "not worthy" of their time. Your presenter might be the best in the industry, but for whatever reason their story did not resonate with your attendees. 

Wouldn't a better way be to offer this loop:

Presenter and Attendees talk + Attendees are polled throughout the session +
Presenter gets results dynamically and takes a 5-minute break to modify presentation and/or answers questions on the fly > Improvements are made in a real-time fashion 

What are the benefits of this latter feedback loop? 

  • The presenter and attendees are given an opportunity to respond and express their needs and concerns. 
     
  • The presenter turns into an "asker" versus a "teller". 

    Now the session becomes a conversation instead of a monologue. Even in a very large room, attendees can send questions, concerns and challenges to the speaker via iPad or laptop rentals. When even planning, consider having a hashtag to monitor all comments. 

    The speaker has an opportunity to adjust his or her messaging and recover. 
     

  • By asking the following four questions of both the presenter and the attendees, you start to build a loop: 

    Part of this process is to ask the presenter to self-evaluate their own talk. Here are the questions: 
     

    • What did you do well?  (P)
    • What did the speaker do well? (A)
       
    • What would you do differently next time? (P)
    • What would you suggest the speaker do differently next time? (A) 

By implementing a two-way conversational loop, you allow both the presenter and attendees to develop clear, actionable and balanced feedback that will help improve your speaker's message and leave your attendees feeling like they made a difference! 

Contact SmartSource Rentals for your Audience Response System Rental, iPad and laptop rental quote today!

 

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