webmasterOctober 8, 2015October 8, 2015Are you still using paper surveys as your feedback tool to poll individuals that attend your training, meeting or convention? Or are you sending them an online survey link a week after the meeting? If you are receiving a 10% or better return rate, you are among the lucky few. Most paper and online survey participation is around 1-5 percent. The problem is, with such a small sample, it doesn’t address the thinking of all attendees. There has to be a better way and thankfully there is. Before getting into the solution, let’s take a step back and look at the purpose of surveys, how to design effective questions and why paper or post-event surveys continue to be poor choices to collect this important feedback. Purpose of Event Surveys Surveys are a method of investigation that uses questions to collect information about how attendees, sponsors and exhibitors think and feel about an event. The results are gathered and reported with the intention of keeping existing practices or changing them. Survey questions can be close-ended (yes or no, true or false, or multiple-choice) and/or open-ended (Why did you come to this training session?) Survey Instrument Considerations Start with great questions Effective feedback tools need carefully designed questions that meet the following standards: Is the question clear? Confusing questions will go on answered or worse, the respondent will answer them incorrectly. Is the question measurable? By answering the question, you can actually do something with results. Is the question necessary? Asking questions that are not going to result in action are unnecessary and just create feedback noise. I recommend that you test the survey on family or friends who know very little about your meeting. If they do not understand the questions or the line of questioning, you will still have time to rework them. Provide immediate results One of the major problems with paper and online surveys is the delay time. Remember, paper surveys need to be collected, tallied, analyzed and reported. Even online surveys have a process delay because you give attendees a few days to fill them out. If you rent iPads and have your supplier preload a survey app onto each device, you can ask questions and collect the results instantaneously. You are now empowered to make changes on demand and free up your resources to complete other tasks aligned with your business mission. Include all participants With paper and online surveys you are asking the participant to do something beyond the survey itself. Fill it out and physically turn it in or click on a link – which can be easily ignored or discarded. With an iPad app where results are displayed on a large monitor rental, you are more likely to have close to 100% participation because you will see on a real-time basis how many people have answered a question, and individuals are filling the survey out while the content is still fresh in their mind. Allow for open-ended questions With hundreds or thousands of paper or online surveys, it is extremely difficult to ask open-ended questions, tally the results and draw any conclusions. The interpretation of the data is often left in the hands of a few which can lead to biased reporting to attendees and stakeholders. Using a mobile app that has an analytics tool integrated into it, can report and find trends for you thus allowing you to report the intricate details and the high-level findings of the meeting, without any inherent bias. Hartford Technology Rental Has the Feedback Tools You Need From iPads to monitors and technology in between, Hartford Technology Rental is committed to making your next meeting great! Give us a call at 888.520.5667 to learn more about the many ways we can help!