Our survey said: how to collect feedback about your online event

Holding an online event without consulting feedback, whether collected during the event or after one you have previously delivered, is like trying to get out of a dark cave entirely by yourself: it’s risky, as you could spend ages going down a certain path before realising that it’s the wrong one.

So, if you are currently preparing to present an online event, you should think carefully about how you will gather feedback about it from attendees. That way, you will be able to tweak the event’s direction as it is ongoing or discern what to do with online events you organise later down the line.

What format should you choose for your virtual event?

Terms like ‘online event’ and ‘virtual event’ might initially bring to mind the likes of Apple’s live-streamed iPhone launch events, which are more akin to TV shows than business meetings. That’s in sharp contrast to webinars, which foster much more interaction between the host and attendees.

As explained in a Business 2 Community article, the word ‘webinar’ is itself a portmanteau derived from the words ‘web’ and ‘seminar’. The site also quotes one dictionary definition for the latter: “a meeting for giving and discussing information”.

As indicated by the mention of ‘discussing’, a webinar could therefore provide just the right template for your own event if you are eager to gather feedback about it while it is actually underway. Nonetheless, keep in mind that a webinar doesn’t have to be an entirely live event.

You could put on what is called a ‘simu-live’ event – in other words, one combining live with pre-recorded elements. When presenting on ON24’s webinar platform, for example, you could show a pre-recorded presentation but use Q&A chat features to interact with the audience in real time.

Conduct a post-event survey, but ask the right questions

You could hold polls and surveys during the event itself, provided you use the right software platform for it. Of course, the ‘right’ platform can depend what type of event you want to deliver with it – but it could even let you survey both in-person and online attendees of a hybrid event.

However, whether your event is entirely or only partially digital, your audience might set aside relatively little time to participate in polls and surveys held during it. Hence, you could amass comparatively in-depth feedback by requesting it after the event has been wrapped up.

This places a strong onus on you asking questions especially likely to elicit the in-depth feedback you are looking for. If you need some inspiration, the Eventbrite blog has posted a fair few suggestions of what you could ask – with separate questions for attendees and stakeholders.

While relatively open questions like “Please rate the event on a scale of 1-10” can work well with attendees and stakeholders alike, you could ask the former how likely they are to recommend the event to a friend. Meanwhile, you couldask stakeholders whether they anticipate the event positively impacting their business goals – and “Will we see you again?”

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