The subject of collecting feedback and
came up recently with me. It got me thinking about
how valuable feedback can be collected easily to
make any type of event run better the next time. I
recalled being a conference attendee at an intensive
all day session of training, coaching, commentary and
The clock struck 5:00 P.M.- quitting time (we'd had
enough). Time for some socializing and a cold drink.
That was what I and about five hundred others thought
as we sat in a huge conference room in Las Vegas
several years ago.
But the seminar leader, Thomas Leonard, said it's not
play time quite yet. Let's have some feedback
about the day. We need to hear about your
experience. He asked the audience questions like
What was good, what was bad?
What is the one thing that you learned today of the
greatest value to you?
How can we make our next meeting even better?
Leonard knew the importance of asking for
feedback and the timing of feedback capture.
You see, if you don't ask for feedback on performance
you'll never get it. Not because people don't
want to give you feedback, but because their personal
avalanche of time commitments overwhelms them the
minute they leave the room.
So, not only asking is important, but
the timing of your request to capture
the information is just as important. At the
close of an event (clinic, demonstration, horse
show, riding lesson), you still have a "captured"
audience. They are tired, but still in a fresh frame
of reference with what was presented. If a week
or even a day or two goes by before feedback is
gathered, the participants will only retain a
fraction of the experience.
The military brass and law enforcement leaders know
the power and benefit of conducting a debriefing
session after their own "events". You can gather
information and feedback the same way in your
It's not hard; here is how you do it. After an event, ask
your staff and volunteers questions like:
- What did we do well today?
- What did we do that wasn't effective or was badly
- Who do we applaud and thank for a job well done?
- Who should be met with privately for suggestions
and help to improve?
- What have we learned from this event today?
- What are things we should change before the next
time we have this event?
- Who would like a larger role in carrying out the
event next time?
Or ask the audience or participants of your event
questions like these:
- What did you learn during this activity?
- Were you satisfied with what we presented?
- What new things did you learn about this topic?
- Where do you need more practice?
- What things would you suggest for us to consider
to make this event better?
Try a feedback session after your next event; you'll
be impressed with the information you gather and the
ease of acquiring it.