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GuidesSurveys25 post-event survey questions to get valuable feedback

25 post-event survey questions to get valuable feedback

Last updated

13 January 2024

Author

Dovetail Editorial Team

You plan, work, and worry over your event to make sure everything goes to plan and your participants have a great experience. But your job doesn’t end there. You need to know how you and your team performed so you can repeat what you did right when executing future events and correct what didn’t go so well. 

A post-event survey provides the feedback you need to do an even better job next time. Naturally, you’ll hope for a mountain of positive feedback, but negative responses allow you to look at your shortcomings and create an improved experience next time.

The most important thing to do when sending a post-event survey is to ask the right participants the right questions. This will help ensure you get valuable feedback.

This article will provide background on why post-event surveys are important and the best way to conduct them. You’ll also find sample questions that will help you compose an effective post-event survey for all respondents.

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What is an event survey?

Event surveys provide input for your event planning in three phases: pre-event, during, and post-event. They create input opportunities for attendees, sponsors, presenters, volunteers, and staff.

  • Pre-event survey: a pre-event survey is instrumental in assessing attendance expectations, gauging interest in potential topics, gathering insights on logistics, scrutinizing the schedule, and more.

  • During-event survey: a during-event survey empowers you to make real-time adjustments, enhancing the overall experience for both attendees and presenters.

  • Post-event survey: the post-event survey holds equal significance, offering a diverse range of feedback from all participants. It serves as a valuable guide for refining and shaping your future events.

A post-event survey can come in many forms. You might enclose a paper survey in event packets, send an email survey to participants, or provide the link to an online survey. Online surveys tend to generate the greatest return. Through sites like Survey Monkey, Google Forms, and Typeform, they incur little to no expense.

You can present questions in several formats—yes/no, interval scale, multiple choice, and open-ended. Each provides different benefits, so you’ll likely want to include each type in your post-event survey.

Why are event surveys important?

While you and your staff will have your own opinions about how an event went, you won’t get a full picture without input from different participants. Here are some of the benefits of conducting post-event surveys:

  • You can find out whether your reflections match up with those of your attendees. For example, your attendees might have loved something you thought was a failure. This also applies in reverse: something you believe to be a success may have disappointed your attendees.

  • You can present the hard data you gain from surveys to sponsors or corporate leaders. Doing so can enable you to ensure resources and corporate buy-in for your next event.

  • You can learn about an event’s timing and how well it fits in with participants’ schedules.

  • You can discover how well a format works for virtual participants if you have a hybrid event or an all-virtual event.

  • A post-event survey will provide you with a well-rounded look back at your event and reveal ways to attract participants and improve future events.

Types of event survey questions

Four basic types of questions will allow you to get the broadest feedback from all those involved in your event. Survey response rates are higher for short surveys, so try to limit them to 1–10 questions only.

Survey experts also recommend starting with simple questions. This approach engages more respondents. It’s better to start with yes/no questions and work your way up to open-ended questions, as these take more time for respondents to complete.

Yes/no questions

Employing a series of yes/no questions can help you gather concrete data to inform future event planning. These straightforward inquiries offer tangible insights.

They span from assessing if the event met expectations to gauging the participant’s willingness to recommend it to colleagues. You can compile the resulting hard data into graphs or charts, providing a visually compelling presentation for stakeholders as you embark on the planning process for your next event.

Interval scale questions

Interval scale questions yield valuable data, influencing future events and facilitating clear communication with stakeholders.

A five-point Likert scale, with responses ranging from very dissatisfied to very satisfied, comes in useful. It’s simple for administrators and respondents, easy to complete, mobile-friendly, and doesn’t overwhelm the respondent.

These scales also allow you to assess intangibles like food, facilities, and schedules.

Multiple-choice questions

Using multiple-choice questions about different aspects of the event enables participants to tell you their favorite parts.

For example, you can ask about their favorite speaker or food. Opt for single-select or multi-select answer choices with corresponding lists of the participating speakers and meal options. This approach streamlines participant feedback, making it more convenient for them to recall and share their thoughts without needing to reference notes or event materials.

Open-ended questions

Open-ended questions provide a deeper look into the reasoning behind your respondents’ answers.

Compiling these responses will be more time-consuming, and they don’t fit easily into charts or tables. However, they provide valuable responses on what aspects of an event were the best and the worst.

How to write, structure, and send your post-event surveys

Ideally, draft your post-event survey before the event. This means you can send it to participants as quickly as possible. 

Ensure you have contact information for attendees

Gather email addresses, cell phone numbers, mailing addresses, and social media links from attendees and presenters during the registration process. Doing so enables you to contact them quickly after the event.

You also can include a QR code in event packets and links on your website so participants can take the survey at a time that suits them. 

Consider when to send your post-event survey

It’s best to get feedback while the event is fresh in people’s minds. Sending an email or social media link to the survey within 24 hours of the event or on the first business day after the event will give people a chance to respond after they have had time to process it. Give them time to read through any event materials and consider how they can apply what they learned.

Consider survey question types

Choose survey questions that will be quick for participants to answer but still provide you with valuable feedback. Bear in mind that few people would spend more than 20 minutes on an event survey.

Follow up with attendees who don’t respond

Send a reminder about the post-event survey to those who haven’t responded within a few days. It’s best not to send more than three reminders or send them more than a month after the event.

How to encourage responses to your post-event survey

Although you’d like to think you wowed attendees enough that they would be eager to complete your post-event survey, you can consider offering incentives.

For example, you could offer a discount on your next event or enter respondents into a raffle. You want them to feel you value their opinions and are open to applying any suggestions for future events.

Examples of post-event survey questions

Here are some general questions to ask your attendees in your post-event survey:

1. Did the event meet your expectations? (Yes/no)

This question provides a quick snapshot of the responses and lets you quantify results for sponsors and stakeholders. 

2. Will you consider attending future events? (Yes/no)

The answers to this question allow you to plan for future events. You can also determine whether to include the individual in databases to receive notifications about future events.

3. Was the event schedule appropriate for the presented materials? (Yes/no)

This question enables you to learn whether the respondent thought the timeframe used was appropriate for the amount of learning they did.

4. Did you have adequate time for networking? (Yes/no)

Networking is a vital element of any event. You want to be sure that you’re giving people enough time to interact with other attendees and presenters.

5. Were the facilities adequate for the event? (Scale from 1: Not at all, to 5: Very much)

While this is an interval scale question, you can also include a comment section to determine what was good about the venue or what was lacking.

6. Were the meals satisfactory? (Scale from 1: Not at all, to 5: Very much)

This question enables you to gain an overall impression of what your attendees thought of the meals. You can gain further insights on this topic with a multiple-choice question (question 11). 

7. How satisfied or not were you with the materials presented during the sessions? (Scale from 1: Not at all satisfied, to 5: Very satisfied)

Provides a more in-depth look at your attendees’ satisfaction or lack of satisfaction with the topics and speakers.

8. Did you think the presenters were well-prepared? (Scale from 1: Not at all, to 5: Very much)

This question allows respondents to give a stronger opinion of the overall quality of your presenters.

9. What was your favorite session/presentation/keynote speaker? (Multiple choice)

Depending on the length of your event, you could use multiple-choice questions like this to understand how different programs were received by attendees.

10. What session/presentation/keynote speaker did not meet your expectations? (Multiple choice)

Remember, you want to be open to negative feedback as you look to improve.

11. What was your favorite meal? (Multiple choice)

People will remember the food long after they remember some of your presenters. You don’t want to put all your effort into securing brilliant speakers if the food options leave a lot to be desired.

12. How likely is it that you would recommend [event name] to a friend or colleague?

Respondents provide their rating on a scale of 0–10, with 0 being “Not at all likely” and 10 being “Extremely likely.”

The net promoter score (NPS) can help you categorize attendees into promoters (9–10), passives (7–8), and detractors (0–6).

13. What was your favorite aspect of the event? (Open-ended)

Your open-ended questions should be generic enough to allow attendees to speak to whatever is on their minds. You might not consider some aspects of the event that could be keenly important to attendees.

14. Where could we improve on upcoming events? (Open-ended)

Attendees need to feel that you care about their opinions and are willing to make changes to encourage them to return for future events.

15. What else would you like to tell us about the event? (Open-ended)

Always close the survey with an open-ended question that invites attendees to share any feedback they want.

Example questions for sponsors, presenters, and volunteers

To gain wider feedback from multiple perspectives, ask sponsors, presenters, and volunteers to complete a post-event survey. Here are some example questions:

1. Did you feel attendees had a good experience? (Yes/no)

Key stakeholders can interact with attendees while you and your staff are busy handling the logistics. You want to know whether they received positive feedback from attendees during the event.

2. Were you given all the information you needed to fulfill your role in the event? (Yes/no)

Those involved need to feel like they were supported by staff throughout the event’s planning and execution. This involves receiving all the tools and materials they need and being able to contact the event team easily.

3. How would you rate your experience at the event? (Scale from 1: Not at all satisfied, to 5: Very satisfied)

This allows you to quantify how key stakeholders felt about their participation in the event.

4. What are your suggestions for future events? (Open-ended)

Let stakeholders know you value their opinions and input when it comes to planning future events.

Example questions for staff

Your staff play a key role in the event’s success and will do so again next time. Their post-event feedback is crucial. Here are some example questions you might ask staff:

1. In general, did you think that participants (attendees, sponsors, presenters, volunteers) were satisfied with the event? (Yes/no)

Answers to this question will provide a quick snapshot of how staff felt about the success of the event or lack thereof.

2. How satisfied were you with the event? (Scale from 1: Not at all satisfied, to 5: Very satisfied)

This question enables you to obtain a more quantified understanding of the staff members’ reactions.

3. What can we do to improve the next event? (Open-ended)

You and your staff will discuss this question a lot when planning the next event, so the question gives you a good starting point for those discussions.

Example questions for virtual events

Even if your event was held virtually, it is still advantageous to get feedback from attendees. Here are some examples of post-virtual-event survey questions for attendees:

1. How satisfied were you with your platform experience? (Scale from 1: Not at all satisfied, to 5: Very satisfied)

This gives an idea of how your virtual attendees viewed the technical side of the event, including the platform and tools used.

2. How satisfied were you with your interaction with others during the virtual event? (Scale from 1: Not at all satisfied, to 5: Very satisfied)

Through this question, you’ll learn whether virtual attendees felt included and acknowledged while participating.

3. How can we improve the virtual experience at future events? (Open-ended)

With this question, virtual attendees have the opportunity to educate you and your team on ways to improve the virtual aspects of the event. They have a unique perspective that could be extremely useful when planning your next virtual event.

Final thoughts

As an event planner, be it for a non-profit organization, a business, or anything in between, you face a big challenge in satisfying a disparate group of attendees. A post-event survey provides valuable feedback as you move forward with future events.

Being open to negative input provides opportunities for you and your team to grow and improve with each event. Embrace the post-event survey as a vital part of your role and learn with each response how to become a better event planner.

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