Post event survey questions: make your next event even better

The party's over—but how do you know if everyone had fun? Ask these post event survey questions to see what you did well, and what you can do better.

Cheers to a fantastic event.

Once it’s all over, it’s time for a celebratory drink and to start on the next project, right?

Slow down partner, this shouldn’t be the case.

In order to get better and better at your job, you need to get into the minds of the people who were there.

Did they prefer the chicken or the fish? Was the music too loud up front and too quiet in the back? Were the bathrooms shiny and sparkly—but the silverware tainted with fingerprints?

Bottom line, knowing whether the event was ‘good’ or ‘bad’ just ain’t enough. You can’t keep a watchful eye on everything and you can’t trust your own judgment. You’re biased and you know it.

The cure to the common bias is called a post event survey. And a survey with the right questions is the post-mortem that gives you what you need to know to improve your event planning.

And the best part? It’ll come straight from the minds and mouths of the people that matter.

Here are a few tips to get you going.

  1. 1
    Timing is everything

    Your post conference survey questions aren’t something you just have to do in order to avoid feeling guilty—like scraping off a plate for a leftover meal. Your survey is a part of the event. That means doing the groundwork beforehand, so you can time it.

    Your survey should be visible right after, or even during the event. You could gracefully plant a link on your speaker’s slides, on the seating cards, or slip it into the thank you email right after. You could also slap it onto the front page of your event app, if you’ve got one of those. The fresher the memory, the more enthusiastic the feedback.

  2. 2
    Know your purpose

    Don’t treat your post event survey like math homework. Treat it like the beautiful, delicate tool it is, and put real effort into the reasons you’re courting it.

    Knowing your purpose makes it easier to write the questions that’ll give you real insights into how people lived the experiences you’ve created. For example, do you want to know how you can improve the mood, food, or entertainment of your next event? Or is the focus on location, transportation, and logistics? Knowing this lets you zoom in on plans for the future, or on flaws from the past.

  3. 3
    How you ask is everything

    Opinions tell a bigger story than numbers. So how can you go beyond quantity and get to quality?

    Simply put, include open-ended questions.

    Closed questions—those that start with “did you” and similar—are so-called because they only invite yes/no answers.

    Questions that start with how/why/what invite people to explain things, rather than just list them.

    Combining an open-ended survey question approach with your focus area will give you the golden nuggets you need in order to improve.

Top tips for sending your post event survey questions

If you want to get the best feedback possible you should:

  1. Make sure it’s sent at the right time

  2. Ensure your post-event survey has a purpose

  3. Include open-ended questions

Let’s dive into this a bit more.

Examples of post event survey questions

Don’t know where to start with your event feedback questions? These are the five essential questions you need to ask:

  1. What did you like the most—and the least?

  2. How would you rate the overall experience?

  3. How likely are you to attend a future event?

  4. Would you recommend it—and why/why not?

  5. Any other feedback?

Asking these questions in your post-event survey will give you the chance to find out the nitty-gritty details. Now, let’s look at them in a bit more detail.

  1. 1
    What did you like the most—and the least?

    This simple question lets you find the highs and lows, and what made them that way. If people loved the band—maybe it was the drummer’s funky outfit, and not the music that got the high score. These kinds of opinions lets you replicate what works, and avoid what doesn’t.

  2. 2
    How would you rate the overall experience?

    Here you can include subcategories, like ambiance, food, music, speakers or other stuff. Include a simple Likert Scale from 1-5, then work out the average score for each item to get an overall feeling.

  3. 3
    How likely are you to attend a future event?

    Super important—have you gained repeat business from this event or not?

    As every marketer knows, keeping business costs less than getting new business. This means you could value your repeat customers’ feedback heavier than everybody else’s. It’s a simple, valuable way to find out what’s even more important to focus on for your next event.

  4. 4
    Would you recommend it—and why/why not?

    This lets you know if you’re getting some’ word of mouth’ action—which is the best promotion channel there is.

    It only makes sense that people trust friends and colleagues more than strangers’ quotes on your website. And it makes double sense that they trust them over your own claims about yourself.

    Knowing what percentage of your guests would recommend you—and why—could be the biggest indicator of what you need to change.

  5. 5
    Any other feedback?

    It doesn’t matter if it’s post conference, post wedding, or post Bat Mitzvah. You can’t cover everything. Your survey would be too damn long and boring. Instead, focus on the questions above, zoom in a little bit on your focal area, and always leave people the option to write some further suggestions or feedback.

Final thoughts—keep it short, sweet, and simple

Do you want to leave people with a bad last impression of the event?

I bet you don’t. So try your best not to make your survey feel like a chore that just kills the vibe. Because people will just skip the nuisance and go about their day.

So, if you want more, better answers—don’t overstay your welcome, and just stick to the questions that give you value. But make sure to keep it interesting, friendly, and worthwhile—just like your next event.

How you ask is everything.

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