THAT was the WRONG question

April 3, 2009

Was your event or conference a success?

OF COURSE! People said it was “awesome” We also heard it was “Great”, “Fantastic!”
OK… but was it a success?
The point of your event/conference was what?
- To educate people?
- Inspire people?
- Train people a certain set of skills?
- Develop leadership skills?
If, for example, the OBJECTIVE of you event/conference was to train others how to be better trainers, then the only measure of success is if, when they leave, the attendees are better trainers then before. The age old survey question of “Please rank the overall quality of this summit?” is meaningless. What does quality mean? Here are some of my favorite responses “AWESOME!”, “The food was great!”, “Great speakers”, “I had a lot of fun!”, “very informational” (I would hope so!).
In this case, the review “AWESOME!” means that they had fun, but did they learn anything? Are the attendees better trainers?
“Please rate how this conference has improved your ability to be a better trainer? 1 2 3 4 5″
That is the question, and you don’t know until you ask!
Other questions that will help you measure your success against your objectives:
  • Did this event leave you inspired to ________? Please rank on a scale of 1-10
  • What is the likelihood that you will do ______, ______, and ______ in the following month? Please rank on a scale of 1-10
  • Did presenter #1 improve your ability to be a better ________ (i.e.trainer)? 1 2 3 4 5 (Then repeat this question for presenter #2, #3, #4)
  • Did the presenter use effective visual aids that will help you be a better ______ (i.e. trainer)? 1 2 3 4 5
  • Please rank the likelihood that you will institute a specific change in your work or life as a result of what you learned at this event: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
  • Provide a short response on how this event has influenced you to become a better ______ (i.e. leader, trainer, teacher, etc)
  • In 1 week, what will you remember most about this event? 1 month? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? 5 years?
That should get you started… but I bet you can come up with even better ones!

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