by Terry Matthews-Lombardo, CMP
• Developing the evaluation process
Think of this as your best reference tool to revisit a meeting or program to see if it was considered successful by whatever methods you use to measure success. For some that is in monetary standards – how much money did we take in/spend – and for others success is measured in publicity, education, good will, or any number and combination of other factors. It is up to the individual planner/company to determine success or failure based on a compilation of pre-established criteria, and some or all of the following items and viewpoints should be considered during the post meeting evaluation process.
2. Service evaluations should include gathering complete information about all outside parties who were contracted to work on this particular event. Think staffing, security, DMC’s, exhibit companies, registration services, transportation hires, audiovisual and technology support, creative and marketing, printing, etc. In each case you should be able to refer to statistics about number of people used, pricing (check projected vs. actual), appearance, usefulness, necessary training, and how these people or services fit into the overall management of your event.
3. Speaker, Entertainment, and Program evaluations should be compiled on each aspect of your program. This is best done via a simple assessment form handed out to attendees prior to their departure from each presentation or immediately following the activity. For maximum results be sure this form is short, concise, and easy to complete. Veteran planners also realize the importance of providing a brief evaluation to all speakers after their presentation to provide input regarding the planning and two-way communication process prior to and during the speaker’s participation. Make sure to inquire about ancillary sales such as speaker books, CDs, or other promotions they may have included within their presentation.
4. Attendee, Exhibitor, and Sponsor evaluations are usually a good measure of the overall success or failure of your program. This is an opportunity to gather constructive criticism about what worked and didn’t work from multiple viewpoints of participation.
In the end, no matter how many viewpoints, grading scales, or ways you look at evaluating your program, it’s important to summarize everything into one final concise document and share those results with all the gatekeepers and decision makers. For best results, this process should be carefully planned prior to the start of your event to ensure the execution is included while thoughts and comments are fresh on everyone’s minds and before they’ve moved on to the next event.
Terry Matthews-Lombardo, CMP, better known as TML, travels, plans meetings, and then writes about all those experiences from the viewpoint of being on the road and in the center of the action. It’s usually a good combination, or at least worth an interesting read. Having worked on both sides of the industry, she writes from the viewpoint of a veteran planner as well as a travel-savvy road warrior.
If you want to read more from TML you can follow her at www.MidwestMeetings.com and at www.TMLWrites.com.